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Feast Day of October 17
Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch after Saint Peter and Evodius, who died around AD 67. Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, II.iii.22) records that Ignatius succeeded Evodius. Making his apostolic succession even more immediate, Theodoret (Dial. Immutab., I, iv, 33a) reported that Peter himself appointed Ignatius to the see of Antioch.
Besides the Latin name, Ignatius, he also called himself Theophorus ("God Bearer"), and tradition says he was one of the children Jesus took in His arms and blessed. Ignatius was most likely a disciple of the Apostle John.
Ignatius is generally considered to be one of the Apostolic Fathers (the earliest authoritative group of the Church Fathers) and a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, Lutheran Church, Eastern Orthodox Church and Anglican/Episcopal Church who celebrate his feast day on October 17, and the Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, who celebrate his feast day on December 20. Ignatius based his authority on living his life in imitation of Christ.
Ignatius was arrested by the authorities and transported to Rome under trying conditions:
He died as a martyr in the arena. The Roman authorities hoped to make an example of him and thus discourage Christianity from spreading. Instead, he met with and encouraged Christians who flocked to meet him all along his route, and he wrote six letters to the churches in the region and one to a fellow bishop.
- See "Ignatius" in The Westminster Dictionary of Church History, ed. Jerald Brauer (Philadelphia:Westminster, 1971) and also David Hugh Farmer, "Ignatius of Antioch" in The Oxford Dictionary of the Saints (New York:Oxford University Press, 1987).
- The Martyrdom of Ignatius