Polycarp died around the year 155 at the age of 87, so he was a very early Christian who lived while some of the original apostles were still alive. The apostle John appointed Polycarp bishop of the city of Smyrna (now Izmir in Turkey), where Polycarp faced many challenges during his long years in office. Christians were a persecuted minority, while most of the population still worshipped the Roman gods. During one persecution, Polycarp was captured and, even though very advanced in age, sentenced to be burned at the stake. But tradition has it that the flames would not burn him, so he was stabbed to death. His remains are entombed with honor in the church of St. Ambrose in Rome, and his long life of service to the early church is remembered each year on this day. The name Polycarp means “many fruits.” May all of our lives be as fruitful!
Ezekiel 18:21-28; Matthew 5:20-26 (228).
“Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.”