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Πολύκαρπος). One of the Apostolic Fathers, was a native of Smyrna. The date of his birth and of his martyrdom are uncertain. He is said to have been a disciple of the Apostle John, and to have been consecrated by this apostle bishop of the church at Smyrna. It has been conjectured that he was the angel of the church of Smyrna to whom Jesus Christ directed the letter in the Apocalypse (ii. 8-11); and it is certain that he was Bishop of Smyrna at the time when Ignatius of Antioch passed through that city on his way to suffer death at Rome, some time between 107 and 116. Ignatius seems to have enjoyed much this intercourse with Polycarp, whom he had known in former days, when they were both hearers of the Apostle John. The martyrdom of Polycarp occurred in the persecution under the emperors Marcus Aurelius and Lucius Verus. As he was led to death the proconsul offered him his life, if he would revile Christ. “Eighty and six years have I served him,” was the reply, “and he never did me wrong: how then can I revile my King and my Saviour?” We have remaining only one short piece of Polycarp, his Letter to the Philippians, which is published along with Iguatius and the other apostolical writers. It is edited in Gebhard's Patrum Apostolica Opera, vol. ii. (1876). See Lightfoot's Apostolic Fathers, pt. ii. (2d ed. 1889); and Ignatius.

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