Saint Polycarp of Smyrna

St. Polycarp of Smyrna (c. 69-155 A.D.) became a Christian in his youth, a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. St. John ordained him Bishop of Smyrna (in modern-day Turkey) and from this position, Polycarp became one of the most illustrious of the Apostolic Fathers. His closeness with the Apostles, and the long life that he lived, enabled him to protect the Church against heresy. The account of his martyrdom is well-preserved and is one of the earliest in the Church. Knowing the government was seeking his life, he received a vision while praying that he would be burned alive. After his capture, he was encouraged to submit to Caeser in order to be released, but he refused. He was then taken to a public arena to be killed. He gave an outstanding testimony, declaring that he had served Christ for 86 years. Witnesses of his execution saw the flames surround his body without burning it, and that Polycarp began to glow and emit a sweet aroma. This amazed the crowds, and his executioners were then ordered to stab him to death. St. Polycarp is the patron saint against dysentery and earache. His feast day is February 23rd.
 
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