Saint Polycarp heard stories from Saint John the Evangelist because he was a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist. He was also a friend to Saint Ignatius. He embraced the teachings of Christ around the year 80. Polycarp was a holy man. He was made the Bishop of Smyrna by Saint John the Evangelist. Smyrna is in modern Turkey. He wrote many letters, but only one has been saved.
Polycarp was met by the leader of one of the heresies. A heresy is a teaching against the Church. The leader demanded respect and his ideas be respected. Polycarp said, “I recognize you as the son of Satan.”
The churches in Polycarp’s area asked him to meet with the Pope. They helped decide the date to celebrate Easter in Rome. This was one of many major problems in the early Church.
The Romans were having Christians attacked by wild animals in the Roman arena. The crowd demanded, “More atheists. Bring Polycarp!” The Romans called Christians atheists. They did this because Christians didn’t believe in the many Roman gods. Instead, Christians believe in the One True God. Polycarp left the city and hid at a nearby farm. He spent his time in prayer. During his prayers, he had a vision of a pillow turned to fire.
He was arrested and asked for time to pray. He fixed his captors a meal while he prayed for everyone he had known and for the Church. He was taken to the arena. Those around Polycarp heard a voice from heaven, “Be brave, Polycarp.”
The government official begged Polycarp to say, “Away with the atheists.”
Polycarp faced the crowd and said, “Away with atheists.”
The official begged him “Swear by Caesar.”
Polycarp responded, “You do not know who I am. I am a Christian.”
The official asked reminded him of the wild animals unless he changed his mind.
Polycarp said,”Change of mind from better to worse, is not a change allowed us.”
He was supposed to be burned. When the fire began, it burst up like an arch around him. Instead of him being burned, he glowed. The flames would not hurt him. He ended up being killed. A Roman guard then ordered his body be burned.
Saint Polycarp is the patron saint of earaches.
Lesson plans for Saint Polycarp.