Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch

October 17 –

St. Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, surnamed Theophorus, which in Greek means “God-Bearer,” (ca. 35 or 50-between 98 and 117), was probably a convert and disciple of St. John the Evangelist. We know nothing of his early life. The fourth-century Church historian, Eusebius, says that the Apostles Peter and Paul, who planted the faith in Antioch, left directions that Ignatius should succeed Evodius as bishop of that city; he states further that Ignatius retained the office for forty years, proving himself in every way an exemplary pastor. During the persecution of the emperor Domitian, whose reign covered the period of 81 to 96, Ignatius kept up the courage of his flock by daily preaching, by prayer and fasting. Taken to Rome, he was sentenced to die in the Colosseum, to be eaten by lions.