Skip to comments.St.Ignatius Of Antioch (A.D.110)
Posted on 10/17/2001 11:13:22 AM PDT by Lady In Blue
|St. Ignatius was the third bishop of Antioch, succeeding St. Evodius, who was the immediate successor of St. Peter. St. Ignatius is given the title of Apostolic Father of the Church since he was a disciple of the Apostle John. Ignatius was bishop of Antioch during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajen (98-117), an unyielding persecutor of the Christian Church. Behind the Apostles, St. Ignatius is perhaps the most famous name associated with the early Church. However, little is known about his life or his career as bishop. What we do know of him stems from his writings, in particular the seven epistles Ignatius wrote on his way to his death. At around the year 110 A.D., Trajen sentenced Ignatius to death by exposure to the wild beasts in the arena. During his journey from Antioch to Rome for his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote seven letters addressed to the Christians in the communities of Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna, all of which were along the journey's path. These seven letters tell little of his life, but do reveal his love of the Church, his desire for Church unity, his hatred of schism and heresy, and his desire for martyrdom for the sake of Christ. In his letter to the Romans, Ignatius writes: "I am writing to all the Churches and I enjoin all, that I am dying willingly for God's sake, if only you do not prevent it. I beg you, do not do me an untimely kindness. Allow me to be eaten by the beasts, which are my way of reaching to God. I am God's wheat, and I am to be ground by the teeth of wild beast, so that I may become the pure bread of Christ." (Ch. 4)
St. Ignatius was the first to use the term "Catholic Church". For Ignatius, a Church without the episcopacy was impossible. His letters present a clear view of the hierarchical and monarchical structure of the Church: "Where the bishop is, there let the people be, as were Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church." The letters of Ignatius are filled with warnings against false doctrines and false teachers. In particular, he wrote out against the Docetists, who denied the humanity of Christ and ascribed to Him a phantom body. Ignatius passionately affirmed both the humanity and divinity of Christ and proclaimed that if Christ died only in appearance, then his suffering and his willingness to give up his own life for the glory of Christ would have no meaning. Flowing from this passion for unity and Truth in proclaiming the humanity and divinity of Christ, Ignatius commented extensively on the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist offered to all through His suffering, death and resurrection. In his Eucharistic teachings, Ignatius emphasizes the need for unity in the belief in the True Presence of Christ, reveals that the early church believed the Eucharistic celebration was a true sacrifice, and that a valid Eucharist if conferred by a priest under the authority of the bishop. Through these important writings, St. Ignatius left a powerful proclamation and extensive history of early Church dogma and history.
|Eucharistic Teachings of St. Ignatius of Antioch
Letter to the Smyrnaeans
The Eucharist is the true participation in the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Here he directly challenges the Docetists who found no reason to celebrate the Eucharist since they denied the humanity of Christ:
Let no one be deceived! Even the heavenly powers and the angels in their splendor and the principalities, both visible and invisible, must either believe in the Blood of Christ, or else face damnation. Let him grasp it who can. Let no rank puff up anyone; for faith and love are paramount--the greatest blessings in the world. Observe those who hold erroneous opinions concerning the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how they run counter to the mind of God! They concern themselves with neither works of charity, nor widows, nor orphans, nor the distressed, nor those in prison or out of it, nor the hungry or thirsty.
From Eucharist and prayer they hold aloof, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, which suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His loving-kindness raised from the dead. And so, those who question the gift of God perish in their contentiousness. It would be better for them to have love, so as to share in the resurrection. It is proper, therefore, to avoid associating with such people and not to speak about them either in private or in public, but to study the Prophets attentively and, especially, the Gospel, in which the Passion is revealed to us and the Resurrection shown in its fulfillment. Shun division as the beginning of evil.
You must all follow the lead of the bishop, as Jesus Christ followed that of the Father; follow the presbytery as you would the Apostles; reverence the deacons as you would God's commandment. Let no one do
Comments from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Letter to the Ephesians
The Eucharist should be central to our lives and our worship:
Make an effort, then, to meet more frequently to celebrate God's Eucharist and to offer praise. For, when you meet frequently in the same place, the forces of Satan are overthrown, and his baneful influence is neutralized by the unanimity of your faith. Peace is a precious thing: it puts an end to every war waged by heavenly or earthly enemies. (paragraph 13)
Here St. Ignatius focuses on 1 Corinthians 10:17:
If Jesus Christ, yielding to your prayer, grants me the favor and it is His will, I shall, in the subsequent letter which I intend to write to you, still further explain the dispensation which I have here only touched upon, regarding the New Man Jesus Christ--a dispensation founded on faith in Him and love for Him, on His Passion and Resurrection. I will do so especially if the Lord should reveal to me that you--the entire community of you!--are in the habit, through grace derived from the Name, of meeting in common, animated by one faith and in union with Jesus Christ--who in the flesh was of the line of David, the Son of Man and the Son of God--of meeting, I say, to show obedience with undivided mind to the bishop and the presbytery, and to break the same Bread, which is the medicine of immortality, the antidote against death, and everlasting life in Jesus Christ. (paragraph 20)
Comments from the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
Letter to the Romans
The Prince of this world is resolved to abduct me, and to corrupt my Godward aspirations. Let none of you, therefore, who will then be present, assist him. Rather, side with me, that is, with God. Do not have Jesus Christ on your lips, and the world in your hearts. Give envy no place among you. And should I upon my arrival plead for your intervention, do not listen to me. Rather, give heed to what I write to you. I am writing while still alive, but my yearning is for death. My Love has been crucified, and I am not on fire with the love of earthly things. But there is in me a Living Water, which is eloquent and within me says: "Come to the Father." I have no taste for corruptible food or for the delights of this life. Bread of God is what I desire; that is, the Flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David; and for my drink I desire His Blood, that is, incorruptible love. (paragraph 7)
Letter to the Philadelphians
The unity of the Church is found in the Eucharist. St. Ignatius equates the Eucharistic celebration to a sacrifice complete with altar:
Take care, then, to partake of one Eucharist; for, one is the Flesh of Our Lord Jesus Christ, and one the cup to unite us with His Blood, and one altar, just as there is one bishop assisted by the presbytery and the deacons, my fellow servants. Thus you will conform in all your actions to the will of God. (paragraph 4)
Let's all ignore the Catholic bashers.Just ignore them.
Bah, that's my uncles' beer. It tastes like something scraped off bin Laden's boot.
Seriously, though, thanks for posting this. It's been a while since I've read any of the catechism or an epistle.
The historical Babylon was in ruins when the Epistles were written. It was a caravan watering hole, not much more than that.
"Babylon" was popularly used by the Jews of that day as a code word for Rome. Also, the evidence from both tradition and archaeology that Peter died in Rome is overwhelming. In fact, the archaeological evidence alone is convincing proof that Peter's tomb is exactly where it should be, underneath the high altar of St. Peter's basilica.
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