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Monday, February 1, 2016

St. Ignatius of Antioch & Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

St. Ignatius of Antioch & Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

"Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church." 100 A.D

Also called Theophorus (ho Theophoros); born in Syria, around the year 50; died at Rome between 98 and 117.
More than one of the earliest ecclesiastical writers have given credence, though apparently without good reason, to the legend that Ignatius was the child whom the Savior took up in His arms, as described in Mark 9:35. It is also believed, and with great probability, that, with his friend Polycarp, he was among the auditors of the Apostle St. John. If we include St. Peter, Ignatius was the third Bishop of Antioch and the immediate successor of Evodius (Eusebius, Church History II.3.22). Theodoret ("Dial. Immutab.", I, iv, 33a, Paris, 1642) is the authority for the statement that St. Peter appointed Ignatius to the See of Antioch. St. John Chrysostom lays special emphasis on the honor conferred upon the martyr in receiving his episcopal consecration at the hands of the Apostles themselves ("Hom. in St. Ig.", IV. 587). Natalis Alexander quotes Theodoret to the same effect (III, xii, art. xvi, p. 53).

All the sterling qualities of ideal pastor and a true soldier of Christ were possessed by the Bishop of Antioch in a preeminent degree. Accordingly, when the storm of the persecution of Domitian broke in its full fury upon the Christians of Syria, it found their faithful leader prepared and watchful. He was unremitting in his vigilance and tireless in his efforts to inspire hope and to strengthen the weaklings of his flock against the terrors of the persecution. The restoration of peace, though it was short-lived, greatly comforted him. But it was not for himself that he rejoiced, as the one great and ever-present wish of his chivalrous soul was that he might receive the fullness of Christian discipleship through the medium of martyrdom. His desire was not to remain long unsatisfied. Associated with the writings of St. Ignatius is a work called "Martyrium Ignatii", which purports to be an account by eyewitnesses of the martyrdom of St. Ignatius and the acts leading up to it. In this work, which such competent Protestant critics as Pearson and Ussher regard as genuine, the full history of that eventful journey from Syria to Rome is faithfully recorded for the edification of the Church of Antioch. It is certainly very ancient and is reputed to have been written by Philo, deacon of Tarsus, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, who accompanied Ignatius to Rome. It is generally admitted, even by those who regarded it as authentic, that this work has been greatly interpolated. Its most reliable form is that found in the "Martyrium Colbertinum" which closes the mixed recension and is so called because its oldest witness is the tenth-century Codex Colbertinus (Paris).

According to these Acts, in the ninth year of his reign, Trajan, flushed with victory over the Scythians and Dacians, sought to perfect the universality of his dominion by a species of religious conquest. He decreed, therefore, that the Christians should unite with their pagan neighbors in the worship of the gods. A general persecution was threatened, and death was named as the penalty for all who refused to offer the prescribed sacrifice. Instantly alert to the danger that threatened, Ignatius availed himself of all the means within his reach to thwart the purpose of the emperor. The success of his zealous efforts did not long remain hidden from the Church's persecutors. He was soon arrested and led before Trajan, who was then sojourning in Antioch. Accused by the emperor himself of violating the imperial edict, and of inciting others to like transgressions, Ignatius valiantly bore witness to the faith of Christ. If we may believe the account given in the "Martyrium", his bearing before Trajan was characterized by inspired eloquence, sublime courage, and even a spirit of exultation. Incapable of appreciating the motives that animated him, the emperor ordered him to be put in chains and taken to Rome, there to become the food of wild beasts and a spectacle for the people.

That the trials of this journey to Rome were great we gather from his letter to the Romans (par. 5): "From Syria even to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated." Despite all this, his journey was a kind of triumph. News of his fate, his destination, and his probable itinerary had gone swiftly before. At several places along the road his fellow-Christians greeted him with words of comfort and reverential homage. It is probable that he embarked on his way to Rome at Seleucia, in Syria, the nearest port to Antioch, for either Tarsus in Cilicia, or Attalia in Pamphylia, and thence, as we gather from his letters, he journeyed overland through Asia Minor. At Laodicea, on the River Lycus, where a choice of routes presented itself, his guards selected the more northerly, which brought the prospective martyr through Philadelphia and Sardis, and finally to Smyrna, where Polycarp, his fellow-disciple in the school of St. John, was bishop. The stay at Smyrna, which was a protracted one, gave the representatives of the various Christian communities in Asia Minor an opportunity of greeting the illustrious prisoner, and offering him the homage of the Churches they represented. From the congregations of Ephesus, Magnesia, and Tralles, deputations came to comfort him. To each of these Christian communities he addressed letters from Smyrna, exhorting them to obedience to their respective bishops, and warning them to avoid the contamination of heresy. These, letters are redolent with the spirit of Christian charity, apostolic zeal, and pastoral solicitude. While still there he wrote also to the Christians of Rome, begging them to do nothing to deprive him of the opportunity of martyrdom.

From Smyrna his captors took him to Troas, from which place he dispatched letters to the Christians of Philadelphia and Smyrna, and to Polycarp. Besides these letters, Ignatius had intended to address others to the Christian communities of Asia Minor, inviting them to give public expression to their sympathy with the brethren in Antioch, but the altered plans of his guards, necessitating a hurried departure, from Troas, defeated his purpose, and he was obliged to content himself with delegating this office to his friend Polycarp. At Troas they took ship for Neapolis. From this place their journey led them overland through Macedonia and Illyria. The next port of embarkation was probably Dyrrhachium (Durazzo). Whether having arrived at the shores of the Adriatic, he completed his journey by land or sea, it is impossible to determine. Not long after his arrival in Rome he won his long-coveted crown of martyrdom in the Flavian amphitheater. The relics of the holy martyr were borne back to Antioch by the deacon Philo of Cilicia, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, and were interred outside the gates not far from the beautiful suburb of Daphne. They were afterwards removed by the Emperor Theodosius II to the Tychaeum, or Temple of Fortune which was then converted into a Christian church under the patronage of the martyr whose relics it sheltered. In 637 they were translated to St. Clement's at Rome, where they now rest. The Church celebrates the feast of St. Ignatius on 1 February.

The character of St. Ignatius, as deduced from his own and the extant writings of his contemporaries, is that of a true athlete of Christ. The triple honor of apostle, bishop, and martyr was well merited by this energetic soldier of the Faith. An enthusiastic devotion to duty, a passionate love of sacrifice, and an utter fearlessness in the defense of Christian truth, were his chief characteristics. Zeal for the spiritual well-being of those under his charge breathes from every line of his writings. Ever vigilant lest they be infected by the rampant heresies of those early days; praying for them, that their faith and courage may not be wanting in the hour of persecution; constantly exhorting them to unfailing obedience to their bishops; teaching them all Catholic truth; eagerly sighing for the crown of martyrdom, that his own blood may fructify in added graces in the souls of his flock, he proves himself in every sense a true, pastor of souls, the good shepherd that lays down his life for his sheep.


The oldest collection of the writings of St. Ignatius known to have existed was that made use of by the historian Eusebius in the first half of the fourth century, but which unfortunately is no longer extant. It was made up of the seven letters written by Ignatius whilst on his way to Rome; These letters were addressed to the Christians
  • of Ephesus (Pros Ephesious);
  • of Magnesia (Magnesieusin);
  • of Tralles (Trallianois);
  • of Rome (Pros Romaious);
  • of Philadelphia (Philadelpheusin);
  • of Smyrna (Smyrnaiois); and
  • to Polycarp (Pros Polykarpon).
We find these seven mentioned not only by Eusebius (Church History III.36) but also by St. Jerome (De viris illust., c. xvi). Of later collections of Ignatian letters which have been preserved, the oldest is known as the "long recension". This collection, the author of which is unknown, dates from the latter part of the fourth century. It contains the seven genuine and six spurious letters, but even the genuine epistles were greatly interpolated to lend weight to the personal views of its author. For this reason they are incapable of bearing witness to the original form. The spurious letters in this recension are those that purport to be from Ignatius
  • to Mary of Cassobola (Pros Marian Kassoboliten);
  • to the Tarsians (Pros tous en tarso);
  • to the Philippians (Pros Philippesious);
  • to the Antiochenes (Pros Antiocheis);
  • to Hero a deacon of Antioch (Pros Erona diakonon Antiocheias). Associated with the foregoing is
  • a letter from Mary of Cassobola to Ignatius.
It is extremely probable that the interpolation of the genuine, the addition of the spurious letters, and the union of both in the long recension was the work of an Apollinarist of Syria or Egypt, who wrote towards the beginning of the fifth century. Funk identifies him with the compiler of the Apostolic Constitutions, which came out of Syria in the early part of the same century. Subsequently there was added to this collection a panegyric on St. Ignatius entitled, "Laus Heronis". Though in the original it was probably written in Greek, it is now extant only in Latin and Coptic texts. There is also a third recension, designated by Funk as the "mixed collection". The time of its origin can be only vaguely determined as being between that of the collection known to Eusebius and the long recension. Besides the seven genuine letters of Ignatius in their original form, it also contains the six spurious ones, with the exception of that to the Philippians.

In this collection is also to be found the "Martyrium Colbertinum". The Greek original of this recension is contained in a single codex, the famous Mediceo-Laurentianus manuscript at Florence. This codex is incomplete, wanting the letter to the Romans, which, however, is to be found associated with the "Martyrium Colbertinum" in the Codex Colbertinus, at Paris. The mixed collection is regarded as the most reliable of all in determining what was the authentic text of the genuine Ignatian letters. There is also an ancient Latin version which is an unusually exact rendering of the Greek. Critics are generally inclined to look upon this version as a translation of some Greek manuscript of the same type as that of the Medicean Codex. This version owes its discovery to Archbishop Ussher, of Ireland, who found it in two manuscripts in English libraries and published it in 1644. It was the work of Robert Grosseteste, a Franciscan friar and Bishop of Lincoln (c. 1250). The original Syriac version has come down to us in its entirety only in an Armenian translation. It also contains the seven genuine and six spurious letters. This collection in the original Syriac would be invaluable in determining the exact text of Ignatius, were it in existence, for the reason that it could not have been later than the fourth or fifth century. The deficiencies of the Armenian version are in part supplied by the abridged recension in the original Syriac. This abridgment contains the three genuine letters to the Ephesians, the Romans, and to Polycarp. The manuscript was discovered by Cureton in a collection of Syriac manuscripts obtained in 1843 from the monastery of St. Mary Deipara in the Desert of Nitria. Also there are three letters extant only in Latin. Two of the three purport to be from Ignatius to St. John the Apostle, and one to the Blessed Virgin, with her reply to the same. These are probably of Western origin, dating no further back than the twelfth century.

The controversy

At intervals during the last several centuries a warm controversy has been carried on by patrologists concerning the authenticity of the Ignatian letters. Each particular recension has had its apologists and its opponents. Each has been favored to the exclusion of all the others, and all, in turn, have been collectively rejected, especially by the coreligionists of Calvin. The reformer himself, in language as violent as it is uncritical (Institutes, 1-3), repudiates in globo the letters which so completely discredit his own peculiar views on ecclesiastical government. The convincing evidence which the letters bear to the Divine origin of Catholic doctrine is not conducive to predisposing non-Catholic critics in their favor, in fact, it has added not a little to the heat of the controversy. In general, Catholic and Anglican scholars are ranged on the side of the letters written to the Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians, Romans, Philadelphians, Smyrniots, and to Polycarp; whilst Presbyterians, as a rule, and perhaps a priori, repudiate everything claiming Ignatian authorship.

The two letters to the Apostle St. John and the one to the Blessed Virgin, which exist only in Latin, are unanimously admitted to be spurious. The great body of critics who acknowledge the authenticity of the Ignatian letters restrict their approval to those mentioned by Eusebius and St. Jerome. The six others are not defended by any of the early Fathers. The majority of those who acknowledge the Ignatian authorship of the seven letters do so conditionally, rejecting what they consider the obvious interpolations in these letters. In 1623, whilst the controversy was at its height, Vedelius gave expression to this latter opinion by publishing at Geneva an edition of the Ignatian letters in which the seven genuine letters are set apart from the five spurious. In the genuine letters he indicated what was regarded as interpolations. The reformer Dallaeus, at Geneva, in 1666, published a work entitled "De scriptis quae sub Dionysii Areop. et Ignatii Antioch. nominibus circumferuntur", in which (lib. II) he called into question the authenticity of all seven letters. To this the Anglican Pearson replied spiritedly in a work called "Vindiciae epistolarum S. Ignatii", published at Cambridge, 1672. So convincing were the arguments adduced in this scholarly work that for two hundred years the controversy remained closed in favor of the genuineness of the seven letters. The discussion was reopened by Cureton's discovery (1843) of the abridged Syriac version, containing the letters of Ignatius to the Ephesians, Romans, and to Polycarp. In a work entitled "Vindiciae Ignatianae" London, 1846), he defended the position that only the letters contained in his abridged Syriac recension, and in the form therein contained, were genuine, and that all others were interpolated or forged outright. This position was vigorously combated by several British and German critics, including the Catholics Denzinger and Hefele, who successfully defended the genuineness of the entire seven epistles. It is now generally admitted that Cureton's Syriac version is only an abbreviation of the original.

While it can hardly be said that there is at present any unanimous agreement on the subject, the best modern criticism favors the authenticity of the seven letters mentioned by Eusebius. Even such eminent non-Catholic critics as Zahn, Lightfoot, and Harnack hold this view. Perhaps the best evidence of their authenticity is to be found in the letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, which mentions each of them by name. As an intimate friend of Ignatius, Polycarp, writing shortly after the martyr's death, bears contemporaneous witness to the authenticity of these letters, unless, indeed, that of Polycarp itself be regarded as interpolated or forged. When, furthermore, we take into consideration the passage of Irenaeus (Adv. Haer., V, xxviii, 4) found in the original Greek in Eusebius (Church History III.36), in which he refers to the letter to the Romans. (iv, I) in the following words: "Just as one of our brethren said, condemned to the wild beasts in martyrdom for his faith", the evidence of authenticity becomes compelling. The romance of Lucian of Samosata, "De morte peregrini", written in 167, bears incontestable evidence that the writer was not only familiar with the Ignatian letters, but even made use of them. Harnack, who was not always so minded, describes these proofs as "testimony as strong to the genuineness of the epistles as any that can be conceived of" (Expositor, ser. 3, III, p. 11).

Contents of the letters

It is scarcely possible to exaggerate the importance of the testimony which the Ignatian letters offer to the dogmatic character of Apostolic Christianity. The martyred Bishop of Antioch constitutes a most important link between the Apostles and the Fathers of the early Church. Receiving from the Apostles themselves, whose auditor he was, not only the substance of revelation, but also their own inspired interpretation of it; dwelling, as it were, at the very fountain-head of Gospel truth, his testimony must necessarily carry with it the greatest weight and demand the most serious consideration. Cardinal Newman did not exaggerate the matter when he said ("The Theology of the Seven Epistles of St. Ignatius", in "Historical Sketches", I, London, 1890) that "the whole system of Catholic doctrine may be discovered, at least in outline, not to say in parts filled up, in the course of his seven epistles". Among the many Catholic doctrines to be found in the letters are the following:
He, moreover, denounces in principle the Protestant doctrine of private judgment in matters of religion (Philadelphians 3), The heresy against which he chiefly inveighs is Docetism. Neither do the Judaizing heresies escape his vigorous condemnation.


The four letters found in Latin only were printed in Paris in 1495. The common Latin version of eleven letters, together with a letter of Polycarp and some reputed works of Dionysius the Areopagite, was printed in Paris, 1498, by Lefèvre d'Etaples. Another edition of the seven genuine and six spurious letters, including the one to Mary of Cassobola, was edited by Symphorianus Champerius, of Lyons, Paris, 1516. Valentinus Paceus published a Greek edition of twelve letters (Dillingen, 1557). A similar edition was brought out at Zurich, in 1559, by Andrew Gesner; a Latin version of the work of John Brunner accompanied it. Both of these editions made use of the Greek text of the long recension. In 1644 Archbishop Ussher edited the letters of Ignatius and Polycarp. The common Latin version, with three of the four Latin letters, was subjoined. It also contained the Latin version of eleven letters taken from Ussher's manuscripts. In 1646 Isaac Voss published at Amsterdam an edition from the famous Medicean Codex at Florence. Ussher brought out another edition in 1647, entitled "Appendix Ignatiana", which contained the Greek text of the genuine epistles and the Latin version of the "Martyrium Ignatii".

In 1672 J.B. Cotelier's edition appeared at Paris, containing all the letters, genuine and supposititious, of Ignatius, with those of the other Apostolic Fathers. A new edition of this work was printed by Le Clerc at Antwerp, in 1698. It was reprinted at Venice, 1765-1767, and at Paris by Migne in 1857. The letter to the Romans was published from the "Martyrium Colbertinum" at Paris, by Ruinart, in 1689. In 1724 Le Clerc brought out at Amsterdam a second edition of Cotelier's "Patres Apostolici", which contains all the letters, both genuine and spurious, in Greek and Latin versions. It also includes the letters of Mary of Cassobola and those purporting to be from the Blessed Virgin in the "Martyrium Ignatii", the "Vindiciae Ignatianae" of Pearson, and several dissertations. The first edition of the Armenian version was published at Constantinople in 1783. In 1839 Hefele edited the Ignatian letters in a work entitled "Opera Patrum Apostolicorum", which appeared at Tübingen. Migne took his text from the third edition of this work (Tübingen, 1847). Bardenhewer designates the following as the best editions: Zahn, "Ignatii et Polycarpi epistulae martyria, fragmenta" in "Patr. apostol. opp. rec.", ed. by de Gebhardt, Harnack, Zahn, fasc. II, Leipzig, 1876; Funk, "Opp. Patr. apostol.", I, Tübingen, 1878, 1887, 1901; Lightfoot, "The Apostolic Fathers", part II, London, 1885, 1889; an English version of the letters to be found in Lightfoot's "Apostolic Fathers", London, 1907, from which are taken all the quotations of the letters in this article, and to which all citations refer.

The Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans


Ignatius, who is also called Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father, and of the beloved Jesus Christ, which has through mercy obtained every kind of gift, which is filled with faith and love, and is deficient in no gift, most worthy of God, and adorned with holiness: the Church which is at Smyrna, in Asia, wishes abundance of happiness, through the immaculate Spirit and word of God.

Chapter 1. Thanks to God for your faith

I Glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that you are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if you were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, Romans 1:3 and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled Matthew 3:15 by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed [to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard Isaiah 5:26Isaiah 49:22 for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful [followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church.

Chapter 2. Christ's true passion

Now, He suffered all these things for our sakes, that we might be saved. And He suffered truly, even as also He truly raised up Himself, not, as certain unbelievers maintain, that He only seemed to suffer, as they themselves only seem to be [Christians]. And as they believe, so shall it happen unto them, when they shall be divested of their bodies, and be mere evil spirits.

Chapter 3. Christ was possessed of a body after His resurrection

For I know that after His resurrection also He was still possessed of flesh, and I believe that He is so now. When, for instance, He came to those who were with Peter, He said to them, Lay hold, handle Me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit. And immediately they touched Him, and believed, being convinced both by His flesh and spirit. For this cause also they despised death, and were found its conquerors. And after his resurrection He ate and drank with them, as being possessed of flesh, although spiritually He was united to the Father.

Chapter 4. Beware of these heretics

I give you these instructions, beloved, assured that you also hold the same opinions [as I do]. But I guard you beforehand from those beasts in the shape of men, whom you must not only not receive, but, if it be possible, not even meet with; only you must pray to God for them, if by any means they may be brought to repentance, which, however, will be very difficult. Yet Jesus Christ, who is our true life, has the power of [effecting] this. But if these things were done by our Lord only in appearance, then am I also only in appearance bound. And why have I also surrendered myself to death, to fire, to the sword, to the wild beasts? But, [in fact,] he who is near to the sword is near to God; he that is among the wild beasts is in company with God; provided only he be so in the name of Jesus Christ. I undergo all these things that I may suffer together with Him, Romans 8:17 He who became a perfect man inwardly strengthening me. Philippians 4:13

Chapter 5. Their dangerous errors

Some ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied by Him, being the advocates of death rather than of the truth. These persons neither have the prophets persuaded, nor the law of Moses, nor the Gospel even to this day, nor the sufferings we have individually endured. For they think also the same thing regarding us. For what does any one profit me, if he commends me, but blasphemes my Lord, not confessing that He was [truly] possessed of a body? But he who does not acknowledge this, has in fact altogether denied Him, being enveloped in death. I have not, however, thought good to write the names of such persons, inasmuch as they are unbelievers. Yea, far be it from me to make any mention of them, until they repent and return to [a true belief in] Christ's passion, which is our resurrection.

Chapter 6. Unbelievers in the blood of Christ shall be condemned

Let no man deceive himself. Both the things which are in heaven, and the glorious angels, and rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. Matthew 19:12 Let not [high] place puff any one up: for that which is worth all is faith and love, to which nothing is to be preferred. But consider those who are of a different opinion with respect to the grace of Christ which has come unto us, how opposed they are to the will of God. They have no regard for love; no care for the widow, or the orphan, or the oppressed; of the bond, or of the free; of the hungry, or of the thirsty.

Chapter 7. Let us stand aloof from such heretics

They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they confess not the Eucharist to be the flesh of our Saviour Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father, of His goodness, raised up again. Those, therefore, who speak against this gift of God, incur death in the midst of their disputes. But it were better for them to treat it with respect, that they also might rise again. It is fitting, therefore, that you should keep aloof from such persons, and not to speak of them either in private or in public, but to give heed to the prophets, and above all, to the Gospel, in which the passion [of Christ] has been revealed to us, and the resurrection has been fully proved. But avoid all divisions, as the beginning of evils.

Chapter 8. Let nothing be done without the bishop

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is [administered] either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude [of the people] also be; even as, wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. It is not lawful without the bishop either to baptize or to celebrate a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve of, that is also pleasing to God, so that everything that is done may be secure and valid.

Chapter 9. Honour the bishop

Moreover, it is in accordance with reason that we should return to soberness [of conduct], and, while yet we have opportunity, exercise repentance towards God. It is well to reverence both God and the bishop. He who honours the bishop has been honoured by God; he who does anything without the knowledge of the bishop, does [in reality] serve the devil. Let all things, then, abound to you through grace, for you are worthy. You have refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ [shall refresh] you. You have loved me when absent as well as when present. May God recompense you, for whose sake, while you endure all things, you shall attain unto Him.

Chapter 10. Acknowledgment of their kindness

You have done well in receiving Philo and Rheus Agathopus as servants of Christ our God, who have followed me for the sake of God, and who give thanks to the Lord in your behalf, because you have in every way refreshed them. None of these things shall be lost to you. May my spirit be for you, and my bonds, which you have not despised or been ashamed of; nor shall Jesus Christ, our perfect hope, be ashamed of you.

Chapter 11. Request to them to send a messenger to Antioch

Your prayer has reached to the Church which is at Antioch in Syria. Coming from that place bound with chains, most acceptable to God, 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 been thought worthy [of this honour], not that I have any sense [of having deserved it], but by the grace of God, which I wish may be perfectly given to me, that through your prayers I may attain to God. In order, therefore, that your work may be complete both on earth and in heaven, it is fitting that, for the honour of God, your Church should elect some worthy delegate; so that he, journeying into Syria, may congratulate them that they are [now] at peace, and are restored to their proper greatness, and that their proper constitution has been re-established among them. It seems then to me a becoming thing, that you should send some one of your number with an epistle, so that, in company with them, he may rejoice over the tranquility which, according to the will of God, they have obtained, and because that, through your prayers, they have now reached the harbour. As persons who are perfect, you should also aim at those things which are perfect. For when you are desirous to do well, God is also ready to assist you.

Chapter 12. Salutations

The love of the brethren at Troas salutes you; whence also I write to you by Burrhus, whom you 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 minister of God. Grace will reward him in all things. I salute your most worthy bishop, and your very venerable presbytery, and your deacons, my fellow-servants, and all of you individually, as well as generally, in the name of Jesus Christ, and in His flesh and blood, in His passion and resurrection, both corporeal and spiritual, in union with God and you. Grace, mercy, peace, and patience, be with you for evermore!

Chapter 13. Conclusion

I salute the families of my brethren, with their wives and children, and the virgins who are called widows. Be strong, I pray, in the power of the Holy Ghost. Philo, who is with me, greets you. I salute the house of Tavias, and pray that it may be confirmed in faith and love, both corporeal and spiritual. I salute Alce, my well-beloved, and the incomparable Daphnus, and Eutecnus, and all by name. Fare well in the grace of God.