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
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.