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Polycarp, Saint

Saint Polycarp (pŏl´Ĭkärp), c.AD 70–AD 156?, Greek bishop of Smyrna, Father of the Church. He was a disciple of St. John, who appointed him bishop. Thus he linked the apostles and such 2d-century Christian expositors as St. Irenaeus. St. Polycarp was a close friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch. As a very old man, Polycarp went to Rome to discuss the problem of dating Easter. He died a martyr in Smyrna. His one surviving work, the Epistle to the Philippians, has been the subject of controversy. Some scholars have maintained that the letter is really two—one written c.115, enclosing St. Ignatius' epistles, and the other written c.135 to warn the Philippians against the teachings of Marcion. He was in his time the mainstay of Christianity in Asia Minor. Feast: Jan. 26.

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Polycarp, St

Polycarp, St (c.69–c.155). Christian bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor. His Letter to the Philippians is preserved, as well as one of Ignatius' letters addressed to him. According to the contemporary Martyrdom of Polycarp he was arrested during a pagan festival and, on his refusing to recant his faith, burnt to death. Feast day, 23 Feb.

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Polycarp, St

Polycarp, St (c.69–c.155), Greek bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor. The leading Christian figure in Smyrna, he was arrested during a pagan festival, refused to recant his faith, and was burnt to death. His followers wrote an account of his martyrdom, one of the oldest such records to survive. His feast day is 23 February.

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