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Ἰγνάτιος). A martyr who suffered at Rome during the third persecution of the Christians. He was a Syrian by birth, and an immediate disciple of St. John the Evangelist, who, in A.D. 67, committed the church at Antioch to his pastoral superintendence, as successor to Euodius. Over this bishopric he presided for upwards of forty years, when the emperor Trajan, after his triumph over the Dacians, entering the city, exercised many severities towards those who professed the Christian faith, and summoned the prelate himself before him, on which occasion Ignatius conducted himself with such boldness in the imperial presence that he was sent to Rome, and ordered to be exposed in the amphitheatre to the fury of wild beasts. This dreadful death he underwent (October 17) with great fortitude, having availed himself of the interval between his sentence and its execution to strengthen, by his exhortations, the faith of the Roman converts. After his decease, which took place A.D. 107, or, according to some accounts, A.D. 116, his remains were carried to Antioch for interment.

It is reported that Ignatius was one of the little children whom Jesus took up in his arms and blessed, whence he was called Theophorus or “God-borne”; and it is certain that he conversed familiarly with the Apostles, and was perfectly acquainted with their doctrine. Of his works there remain seven genuine epistles, on the various forms of which see Zahn, Ignatios von Antiochien (1873), and Bishop Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, pt. ii. 2d ed. (1889).

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