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St. Ignatius of Antioch

St. Ignatius of Antioch (35 -117)

Read freely text sermons and articles by the speaker St. Ignatius of Antioch in text and pdf format. (Ancient Greek: Ἰγνάτιος Ἀντιοχείας, Ignátios Antiokheías; ad c. 35 or 50 – 98 to 117), also known as Ignatius Theophorus (Ιγνάτιος ὁ Θεοφόρος, Ignátios ho Theophóros, lit. "the God-bearing"), was a student of John the Apostle, was the third bishop of Antioch, and is now counted among the Apostolic Fathers of the Christian Church.[

En route to Rome, where according to Christian tradition he met his martyrdom by being fed to wild beasts, he wrote a series of letters which have been preserved as an example of very early Christian theology. Important topics addressed in these letters include ecclesiology, the sacraments, and the role of bishops. Ignatius modeled his writings after Paul, Peter, and John, and even quoted or paraphrased their own works freely, such as when he quoted 1 Cor 1:18, in his letter to the Ephesians.

showing from 51 to 98 of 98 articles

Honour Your Youthful Bishop
       Now it becomes you also not to despise the age of your bishop, but to yield him all reverence, according to the will of God the Father, as I have known even holy presbyters do, not having regard to the manifest youth [of their bishop], but to his knowle ... read more

I Desire to Die
      From Syria even unto Rome I fight with beasts, both by land and sea, both by night and day, being bound to ten leopards, I mean a band of soldiers, who, even when they receive benefits, show themselves all the worse. But I am the more instructed by their ... read more

I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person
       I do not issue orders to you, as if I were some great person. For though I am bound for His name, I am not yet perfect in Jesus Christ. For now I begin to be a disciple, and I speak to you as my fellow-servants. For it was needful for me to have been ad ... read more

I Have Exhorted You to Unity
       For though some would have deceived me according to the flesh, yet my spirit is not deceived; for I have received it from God. For it knows both whence it comes and whither it goes, and detects the secrets [of the heart]. For when I was among you, I cri ... read more

I Have Need of Humility
       But I measure myself, that I may not perish through boasting: but it is good to glory in the Lord. And even though I were established in things pertaining to God, yet then would it befit me to be the more fearful, and not give heed to those that vainly ... read more

I Rejoice in Your Messengers
       Since, then, I have had the privilege of seeing you, through Damas your most worthy bishop, and through your worthy presbyters Bassus and Apollonius, and through my fellow-servant the deacon Sotio, whose friendship may I ever enjoy, inasmuch as he, by t ... read more

I salute the families of my brethren
       I salute the families of my brethren, with their wives and children, and those that are ever virgins, and the widows. Be ye strong, I pray, in the power of the Holy Ghost. Philo, my fellow-servant, who is with me, greets you. I salute the house of Tavia ... read more

I Will Not Teach You Profound Doctrines
       For might not I write to you things more full of mystery? But I fear to do so, lest I should inflict injury on you who are but babes [in Christ]. Pardon me in this respect, lest, as not being able to receive their weighty import, ye should be strangled ... read more

I Write These Things to Warn You
       These things [I address to you], my beloved, not that I know any of you to be in such a state; but, as less than any of you, I desire to guard you beforehand, that ye fall not upon the hooks of vain doctrine, but that you may rather attain to a full ass ... read more

Jesus Christ will reveal these things to you
       I no longer wish to live after the manner of men, and my desire shall be fulfilled if ye consent. "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet no longer I, since Christ liveth in me." I entreat you in this brief letter: do not refuse me; believ ... read more

Let Nothing Be Done Without the Bishop
       See that ye all follow the bishop, even as Christ Jesus does the Father, and the presbytery as ye would the apostles. Do ye also reverence the deacons, as those that carry out [through their office] the appointment of God. Let no man do anything conn ... read more

Let Other Churches Also Send to Antioch
       Inasmuch, therefore, as I have not been able to write to all Churches, because I must suddenly sail from Troas to Neapolis, as the will [of the emperor] enjoins, [I beg that] thou, as being acquainted with the purpose of God, wilt write to the adjacent ... read more

Let there be one common supplication
       As therefore the Lord does nothing without the Father, for says He, "I can of mine own self do nothing," so do ye, neither presbyter, nor deacon, nor layman, do anything without the bishop. Nor let anything appear commendable to you which is destitute o ... read more

Let Us Live with Christ
       If, then, those who were conversant with the ancient Scriptures came to newness of hope, expecting the coming of Christ, as the Lord teaches us when He says, "If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me;" and again, "Your fat ... read more

Let Us Stand Aloof from Such Heretics
       They are ashamed of the cross; they mock at the passion; they make a jest of the resurrection. They are the offspring of that spirit who is the author of all evil, who led Adam, by means of his wife, to transgress the commandment, who slew Abel by the h ... read more

Love one another with an undivided heart
       The love of the Smyrnaeans and Ephesians salutes you. Remember our Church which is in Syria, from which I am not worthy to receive my appellation, being the last of those of that place. Fare ye well in the Lord Jesus Christ, while ye continue subject to ... read more

Maintain Union with the Bishop
       Wherefore, as children of light and truth, avoid the dividing of your unity, and the wicked doctrine of the heretics, from whom "a defiling influence has gone forth into all the earth." But where the shepherd is, there do ye as sheep follow. For ther ... read more

Pray for the Church in Syria
       Remember in your prayers the Church which is in Syria, which, instead of me, has now for its shepherd the Lord, who says, "I am the good Shepherd." And He alone will oversee it, as well as your love towards Him. But as for me, I am ashamed to be coun ... read more

Pray Rather that I May Attain to Martyrdom
       Ye have never envied any one; ye have taught others. Now I desire that those things may be confirmed [by your conduct], which in your instructions ye enjoin [on others]. Only request in my behalf both inward and outward strength, that I may not only spe ... read more

Preserve Harmony
       Since therefore I have, in the persons before mentioned, beheld the whole multitude of you in faith and love, I exhort you to study to do all things with a divine harmony, while your bishop presides in the place of God, and your presbyters in the place ... read more

Reason of Desiring to Die
       The prince of this world would fain carry me away, and corrupt my disposition towards God. Let none of you, therefore, who are [in Rome] help him; rather be ye on my side, that is, on the side of God. Do not speak of Jesus Christ, and yet prefer this wo ... read more

Reason of Writing the Epistle.
       Having been informed of your godly love, so well-ordered, I rejoiced greatly, and determined to commune with you in the faith of Jesus Christ. For as one who has been thought worthy of a divine and desirable name, in those bonds which I bear about, I co ... read more

Reference to the History of Christ
       Stop your ears, therefore, when any one speaks to you at variance with Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who was descended from David, and was also of Mary; who was truly begotten of God and of the Virgin, but not after the same manner. For indeed God and m ... read more

Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembers you
       My soul be for yours and theirs whom, for the honour of God, ye have sent to Smyrna; whence also I write to you, giving thanks to the Lord, and loving Polycarp even as I do you. Remember me, as Jesus Christ also remembers you, who is blessed for evermor ... read more

Renewed Praise of the Ephesians
      Let not then any one deceive you, as indeed ye are not deceived; for ye are wholly devoted to God. For when there is no evil desire within you, which might defile and torment you, then do ye live in accordance with the will of God, and are [the servants] ... read more

Request that Polycarp Would Send a Messenger to Antioch
       Seeing that the Church which is at Antioch in Syria is, as report has informed me, at peace, through your prayers, I also am the more encouraged, resting without anxiety in God, if indeed by means of suffering I may attain to God, so that, through your ... read more

Seek By Meekness
      If thou lovest the good disciples, no thanks are due to thee on that account; but rather seek by meekness to subdue the more troublesome. Every kind of wound is not healed with the same plaster. Mitigate violent attacks [of disease] by gentle applications ... read more

Some Wickedly Act Independently of the Bishop
       It is fitting, then, not only to be called Christians, but to be so in reality. For it is not the being called so, but the being really so, that renders a man blessed. To those who indeed talk of the bishop, but do all things without him, will He who is ... read more

Speaking Well of the Bishop
       Having beheld your bishop, I know that he was not selected to undertake the ministry which pertains to the common [weal], either by himself or by men, or out of vainglory, but by the love of Jesus Christ, and of God the Father, who raised Him from the d ... read more

Thanks to God for Your Faith
       I Glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who by Him has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spiri ... read more

The Church Of Antioch
       Your prayers have reached to the Church of Antioch, and it is at peace. Coming from that place bound, I salute all; I who am not worthy to be styled from thence, inasmuch as I am the least of them. Nevertheless, according to the will of God, I have b ... read more

The Duties of Husbands and Wives
       Flee evil arts; but all the more discourse in public regarding them. Speak to my sisters, that they love the Lord, and be satisfied with their husbands both in the flesh and spirit. In like manner also, exhort my brethren, in the name of Jesus Christ, t ... read more

The Duties of the Christian Flock
       Give ye heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. My soul be for theirs that are submissive to the bishop, to the presbytery, and to the deacons: may I have my portion with them from God! Labour together with one another; strive in company ... read more

The Ephesians from Smyrna
       The Ephesians from Smyrna (whence I also write to you), who are here for the glory of God, as ye also are, who have in all things refreshed me, salute you, as does also Polycarp. The rest of the Churches, in honour of Jesus Christ, also salute you. Fare ... read more

The Fate of False Teachers
       Do not err, my brethren. Those that corrupt families shall not inherit the kingdom of God. And if those that corrupt mere human families are condemned to death, how much more shall those suffer everlasting punishment who endeavour to corrupt the Church ... read more

The Glory of the Cross
       The cross of Christ is indeed a stumbling-block to those that do not believe, but to the believing it is salvation and life eternal. "Where is the wise man? where the disputer? " Where is the boasting of those who are called mighty? For the Son of God, ... read more

The Old Testament is Good: the New Testament is Better
      The priests indeed, and the ministers of the word, are good; but the High Priest is better, to whom the holy of holies has been committed, and who alone has been entrusted with the secrets of God. The ministering powers of God are good. The Comforter is h ... read more

The Praise of Unity
      For if I, in this brief space of time, have enjoyed such fellowship with your bishop-I mean not of a mere human, but of a spiritual nature-how much more do I reckon you happy, who so depend on him as the Church does on the Lord Jesus, and the Lord does on ... read more

The Reality of Christ's Passion
       But if, as some that are without God, that is, the unbelieving, say, He became man in appearance [only], that He did not in reality take unto Him a body, that He died in appearance [merely], and did not in very deed suffer, then for what reason am I now ... read more

Their Dangerous Errors
       Some have ignorantly denied Him, and advocate falsehood rather than the truth. These persons neither have the prophecies persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think al ... read more

Three Celebrated Mysteries
      Now the virginity of Mary was hidden from the prince of this world, as was also her offspring, and the death of the Lord; three mysteries of renown, which were wrought in silence, but have been revealed to us. A star shone forth in heaven above all that w ... read more

Unbelievers in the Blood of Christ Shall Be Condemned
       Let no man deceive himself. Unless he believes that Christ Jesus has lived in the flesh, and shall confess His cross and passion, and the blood which He shed for the salvation of the world, he shall not obtain eternal life, whether he be a king, or a pr ... read more

Worthy Of Credit
      Let not those who seem worthy of credit, but teach strange doctrines, fill thee with apprehension. Stand firm, as does an anvil which is beaten. It is the part of a noble athlete to be wounded, and yet to conquer. And especially, we ought to bear all thin ... read more

Ye are initiated into the mysteries of the Gospel
      I know both who I am, and to whom I write. I am the very insignificant Ignatius, who have my lot with those who are exposed to danger and condemnation. But ye have been the objects of mercy, and are established in Christ. I am one delivered over [to death ... read more

Ye are Superior to Me
       May I enjoy you in all respects, if indeed I be worthy! For though I am bound, I am not worthy to be compared to one of you that are at liberty. I know that ye are not puffed up, for ye have Jesus in yourselves. And all the more when I commend you, I kn ... read more

Ye Have Given No Heed to False Teachers
      Nevertheless, I have heard of some who have passed in among you, holding the wicked doctrine of the strange and evil spirit; to whom ye did not allow entrance to sow their tares, but stopped your ears that ye might not receive that error which was proclai ... read more

Your Prayers Requested
       Knowing as I do that ye are full of all good, I have but briefly exhorted you in the love of Jesus Christ. Be mindful of me in your prayers, that I may attain to God; and of the Church which is in Syria, of whom I am not worthy to be called bishop. For ... read more

Your venerable presbytery
       The love of your brethren at Troas salutes you; whence also I write to you by Burgus, whom ye sent with me, together with the Ephesians, your brethren, and who has in all things refreshed me. And I would that all may imitate him, as being a pattern of a ... read more

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