Today the church remembers Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and Martyr, c. 115.When the Roman Emperor, Trajan, ordered that Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, be brought to Rome for public execution as an "atheist and subversive," he made a serious blunder. The journey which Ignatius was compelled to take was long, and calls were made at numerous ports. Few men were unimpressed by the sight of the saintly old bishop being hauled in chains to his death. Crowds of Christians and Christian sympathizers gathered at his ports of call to cheer him on. Others joined him and helped record and distribute his letters, which soon became famous. In these letters Ignatius rejoiced at his opportunity to witness for Christ through martyrdom. He warned Christians against the grave danger of heresy within their ranks and urged them to follow the teaching and practice of their duly elected and consecrated bishops. He was one of the first important literary defenders of the three-fold ministry: bishops, priests, and deacons. Ignatius's letters to the Christians in Ephesus, Magnesia, Trolles, Rome, Philadelphia, and Smyrna, are among our most valuable documents of the early church. He was brutally put to death before a mob in the Colosseum at Rome, but the testimony of his life and letters lived on to inspire his fellows in Christ. We thank you, Lord Christ, for all who minister in your church. Amen.
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Almighty God, we praise your Name for your bishop and martyr Ignatius of Antioch, who offered himself as grain to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts that he might present to you the pure bread of sacrifice. Accept, we pray, the willing tribute of our lives and give us a share in the pure and spotless offering of your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.