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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr,

Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr, January 26
Polycarp was a disciple of the Apostle John, by whom he was consecrated Bishop of Smyrna. And he was reckoned the chief of all the Christians of Asia, because he had been taught by several of the Apostles, and other persons who had seen the Lord. During the reign of the Emperor Antoninus Pius, and while Anicetus presided over the Church of Rome, Polycarp came thither to discuss questions regarding the time for observing Easter. * At Rome he found some hereticks, who had been led astray by the doctrine of Marcion and Valentine, many of whom he brought back to the Faith. One day Marcion met him by accident, and said to him : Do you recognize me? Whereto he replied : I most certainly do recognize the devil’s eldest son. * About the year 156, in the reign of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus, the whole population of Smyrna assembled in the theatre, before the throne of the Proconsul, and clamored against Polycarp, and to please them the Proconsul condemned Polycarp to the flames to be burned to death. This blessed man composed an extremely useful Epistle to the Philippians, which is publicly read in the Churches of Asia even to the day of this writing.
Fulfil, O Lord, the petitions of thy servants, who on this day devoutly reverence the passion of blessed Polycarp thy Bishop and Martyr, and accept us, together with him, as a whole burnt-offering dedicated unto thee, through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and forever. Amen.

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