By St. Alphonsus Liguori

St. Ignatius, also called Theophorus, that is, one that carries God, lived in the first century of the Church. He was a disciple of the apostles, particularly of St. John; by them he was baptized, and subsequently ordained Bishop of the Church of Antioch which had the honor of having been founded by the Apostle St. Peter, and as the place where the disciples of Jesus Christ were first called Christians.

St. Ignatius undertook the government of this church after the death of Evodius, the successor of St. Peter, which occurred in the year of the Lord 69; although Cardinal Orsi cites the opinion of some who would have it that St. Ignatius was the immediate successor of St. Peter. Our saint governed his flock with such zeal that all the churches of Syria consulted him as an oracle. In the persecution of Domitian he had to suffer much, and labored, at the risk of his life, for the preservation of the faith, animating his flock to be faithful to the death. He longed for the glory of martyrdom, frequently saying that he could not be persuaded of his love for Christ till he had testified it with his blood.

Praise the Lord

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