[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Ignatius Theophorus, Bishop of Antioch

I/II Centuries
Ignatius is traditionally said to have been one of the little children whom Jesus bade the Apostles imitate. There is little doubt that he was indeed a disciple of the Twelve: his name is linked especially with those of John, Paul, and Peter. (He is listed as the second successor to Peter in the see of Antioch.) Around 107, during Trajan's persecution, he was taken to Rome and sent to his death in the arena.

Numerous letters have been attributed to Ignatius, and at least seven are authentic. These have sufficed to establish "the Godbearer," as Ignatius is traditionally styled, in the front rank of early Christian theologians. His remarkably developed eucharistic ecclesiology, emphasizing the bishop's central role in the community, has drawn particular comment from modern writers.

Norman Hugh Redington