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Saint Polycarp of Smyrna

The collect for today, the Feast Day of St Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, Apostolic Man, Martyr (source [1]):

Almighty God,
who gavest to thy servant Polycarp
boldness to confess the name of our Saviour Jesus Christ
before the rulers of this world
and courage to suffer death for his faith:
grant that we too may be ready
to give an answer for the faith that is in us
and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who liveth and reigneth with thee,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

The Lesson: Revelation 2:8-11 [2]
The Gospel: St Matthew 20:20-23 [3]

Saint Polycarp [4]Church tradition holds that Polycarp was born c. AD 69 of Christian parents and was a disciple of St John the Apostle and Evangelist, who ordained him Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp was arrested during a pagan festival in Smyrna (present-day Izmir, Turkey [5]) and brought before the Roman pro-consul.

[W]hen the magistrate pressed him hard and said, “Swear the oath, and I will release you; revile the Christ,” Polycarp said, “Eighty-six years have I been His servant, and He has done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?”

But on his persisting again and saying, “Swear by the genius of Caesar,” he answered, “If you suppose vainly that I will swear by the genius of Caesar, as you say, and feign that you are ignorant who I am, hear you plainly: I am a Christian. But if you would learn the doctrine of Christianity, assign a day and give me a hearing.”

He was burned at the stake for refusing to renounce Christ.

The Martyrdom of Polycarp was written down by the church of Smyrna and sent as a letter to the church at Philomelium. It is the first Christian martyrology. Several translations of the text can be accessed via this page [6].