Prayer of St. Polycarp

June 28th, 1992
Brother John Raymond

	St. Polycarp who was born in 69 A.D. was a disciple of St. John
 the Apostle. He became Bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor. He was highly
 venerated by the faithful. He trained many holy disciples among whom
 was St. Irenaeus.
	Nothing more in known about him except his famous death due to
 the persecution of Christians by the Romans. St. Polycarp was
 persuaded by his friends to go into hiding. But he was betrayed and
 his place of hiding was surrounded. He was upstairs in bed when they
 came. Those with him tried to persuade him to make an escape but he
 refused saying, "God's will be done." He went down to meet his
 enemies, invited them inside and gave them supper. His only request
 was to be allowed some time for prayer before going with them.
	St. Polycarp was led to the tribunal and commanded to deny Our
 Lord and then he would be set free. He replied, "Eighty-six years I
 have served Him, and He never did me wrong: how can I deny my King
 and Savior?" They threatened him with being burned but he replied
 that the fire of Hell lasts forever while theirs would only last a
 little time. He said many other things and his countenance shown
 with such a heavenly grace that even his judge had to admire him.
	Yet, since he had proclaimed himself a Christian he was sentenced
 to death by fire. The executioners would have nailed him to a stake
 but he said to them it was not necessary because "He Who gives me
 grace to endure the fire will enable me to remain unmoved in the
 fire. However the flames would not kill him so he finally was
 stabbed to death and then his dead body was burned. He died about
 the year 167.

	The following was prayed by St. Polycarp while in the midst of
 the flames:

	Father of Thy Beloved and Blessed Son, Jesus Christ, through Whom
 we have received the knowledge of Thee; The God of Angels and of
 Powers and of the whole creation and the human race and of the
 righteous who live in Thy Presence:
	I bless Thee, that Thou has deemed me worthy of this day and hour
 that I might receive a portion in the number of the martyrs who
 suffered for the sake of Your Son, unto Resurrection of Eternal
 Life, both of body and soul in the immortality of the Holy Spirit.
	Among these may I be received before Thee this day, in an
 acceptable, a rich sacrifice, as Thou, the Faithful and True God,
 beforehand has prepared, has revealed and has fulfilled.
	Therefore, I praise Thee for everything: I bless Thee, I glorify
 Thee, through the Eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ, Thy Beloved
 Son, and with Him, in the Holy Spirit, be unto Thee Thy Glory given,
 both now and for ages to come. Amen.