SAINT IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH THE EARLY CHURCH FATHERS FIRST MARIAN DEFENDER


Memorial October 17 

The first Father of the Church who wrote about Mary is St. Ignatius of Antioch († c. 110). He defended the veracity of the humanity of Christ against the docetists by affirming that Jesus pertained to the line of David because he was born of Mary. Jesus was conceived by Mary – He came from her – and this conception was virginal, and pertains to the most hidden mysteries in the silence of God. 

Ignatius of Antioch, also known as Ignatius Theophorus, Ignatius Nurono was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters. source: Wikipedia 

Born: 15 May 35 AD, Roman Syria, Syria
Died: 6 July 108 AD, Rome, Italy 

See that you all follow the bishop, even as Jesus Christ does the Father, and the presbytery as you would the apostles; and reverence the deacons, as being the institution of God. Let no man do anything connected with the Church without the bishop. Let that be deemed a proper Eucharist, which is administered either by the bishop, or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Wherever the bishop shall appear, there let the multitude of the people also be; even as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church. —Letter to the Smyrnaeans, Ch 8

St. Ignatius is one of the great bishops of the early Church. He was the successor of St. Peter as Bishop of Antioch. He was condemned to death by wild beasts during the Emperor Trajan's persecution. On his way to Rome, he wrote seven magnificent letters, which we still have today, concerning the Person of Christ, his love for Christ, his desire for martyrdom and on the constitution of the Church and Christian life. His sentiments before his approaching martyrdom are summed in his word in the Communion antiphon, "I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread." 

I am the wheat of God, 
and am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, 
that I may be found the pure bread of God.
I long after the Lord, 
the Son of the true God and Father, Jesus Christ. 
Him I seek, who died for us and rose again.
I am eager to die for the sake of Christ. 
My love has been crucified, 
and there is no fire in me that loves anything. 
But there is living water springing up in me, 
and it says to me inwardly: 
"Come to the Father."

photo: Mary Entroned icon at Saint Petersburg, Russia Athos style done in 2013

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