2001-07-03 - Polycarp
They then unanimously shouted that he should be burned alive. The business was executed with all possible speed; for the people immediately gathered fuel from the workshops and baths. As soon as the sticks were collected, he stripped off his clothes, and loosed his girdle. Immediately the usual items were employed to fasten him to the stake. "Let me remain as I am; for He who giveth me strength to sustain the fire, will enable me also, without your securing me with nails, to remain unmoved in the fire." Upon this they bound him without nailing him. He, putting his hands behind him, and being bound, offered to Almighty God the following prayer:
"O Father of thy beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, through whom we have attained the knowledge of Thee, O God of angels and principalities, and of all creation, and of all the just who live in Thy sight, I bless thee, and Thou hast counted me worthy of this day, and this hour, to receive my portion in the number of martyrs, in the cup of Christ, for the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and body, in the incorruption of the Holy Ghost; among whom may I be received before Thee, this day, as a sacrifice well savored and acceptable, which Thou, the faithful and true God, hast prepared, promised before hand, and fulfilled accordingly. Wherefore, I praise thee for all those things, I bless thee, I glorify thee, by the eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, thy well-beloved Son; through whom, with Him in the Holy Spirit, be glory to Thee both now and for ever. Amen."
When he had finished his prayer, the officers lighted the fire; and, a great flame bursting out, and forming the appearance of an arch, was as a wall round about the body of the martyr, which was in the midst, not as burning flesh, but as gold and silver refined in the furnace. At length, the infuriated people, observing that his body could not be consumed by fire, called to the officer, whose business it was, in the Roman games, to dispatch any beast that was unruly or dangerous, to approach, and to plunge his sword into his body.
Upon this, a quantity of blood gushed out, so that the fire was extinguished; and the immortal spirit of the venerable saint fled to the mansions of everlasting rest, and glory, and felicity.
Soli Deo Gloria,