Saint of the Day ~ October 17

SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (c.50-c.107), bishop and martyr – Patron saint of the Churches in Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa, and of those suffering from throat diseases

Today, the universal Church honors Saint Ignatius of Antioch, one of the great bishops of the early Church and the second successor of Saint Peter as bishop of Antioch, and also recognized as one of the Apostolic Fathers of the early Church.

Born about the year 50 in Syria, Ignatius converted to Christianity and eventually became a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist. In the year 107, the Roman emperor, Trajan, visited Antioch and forced the Christians there to choose between death and apostasy. Ignatius, as bishop of Antioch, would not deny Christ, and was thus condemned to be put to death in Rome in the arena with wild animals.

Saint Ignatius is well known for the seven letters he wrote on the long journey from Antioch to Rome. Five of these letters were to Churches in Asia Minor; they urged the Christians there to remain faithful to God and to obey their bishops. He warned them against heretical doctrines, providing them with the solid truths of the Christian faith.

The sixth letter was to Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna and also considered another Apostolic Father, who was later martyred for the faith. The final letter begged the Christians in Rome not to try and prevent his martyrdom – “The only thing I ask of you is to allow me to offer the libation of my blood to God. I am the wheat of the Lord; may I be ground by the teeth of the beasts to become the immaculate bread of Christ.”

Saint Ignatius bravely met the lions in the Circus Maximus. His remains are interred in the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome, Italy.

We commemorate his feastday on October 17.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Ignatius of Antioch)

“All-powerful and Ever-living God, you ennoble Your Church with the heroic witness of all who give their lives for Christ. Grant that the victory of Saint Ignatius of Antioch may bring us Your constant help as it brought him eternal glory.

“We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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