Sunday, February 18, 2007

Saint Ignatius of Antioch - Part I

Who Was Saint Ignatius?
Briefly, St. Ignatius (like St. Polycarp) was a disciple of St. John. He was born within a few years of Christ’s death and martyred between the years of 98 and 117 AD (1) in Rome by beasts as the image to the right shows. Obviously, his writings are of extreme importance to Christianity.

There are 7 extant epistles of his which are widely considered to be authentic. Some Protestants have questioned their authenticity (and for good reason on their part since Ignatius is so unapologetically Catholic as we shall see). We also have an account of his martyrdom by an eye witness which is also accepted as authentic (though not as widely as the aforementioned epistles) even by reputable Protestant scholars (2).

There are also 6 spurious epistles believed to have developed no later than the early 5th century. The spurious letters however, shouldn’t be looked at as having no historical insight. Even though they are not trusted by scholars (Catholic or Protestant) to be authentic representations of St. Ignatius’ own penmanship, they still give us insight into the bias of a typical 5th century Christian (however dishonest that particular person may have been). The spurious letters include epistles to and from the Virgin Mary as well as St. John the apostle.

I will quote only from sources widely considered to be authentic.

St. Ignatius made a number of statements which have been used by Catholic apologists ad nauseam. The reason is, of course that his viewpoints have helped lay the foundation (as an early Church father) for what the Church believes and teaches. I can’t help but return to some of these points as they are so critical for anyone who wants to truly understand the actual history of Christianity. But I will also address a few things he said which were (in hindsight) slightly inconvenient for Catholics.

To be continued...

2 comments:

NotMyOpinion30 said...

"Some Protestants have questioned their authenticity (and for good reason on their part since Ignatius is so unapologetically Catholic as we shall see)."

Oh boy, sounds kind of like the argument that the so-called deuterocanonicals are not inspired.

I have a feeling that if Christ Himself appeared in the flesh and declared, "The Catholic Church is My Church", those Protestants you refer to would say that His appearance was an exaggeration by Catholics or find some other way to deny His Real Presence.

Oh, wait... they already do that... oops!

Tiber Jumper said...

Thanks for posting this. It looks like it was a lot of work.