The stories of the martyrs down through the ages are filled with accounts of those who have come to do the Father’s will or proclaim his message and who have been murdered for their efforts. One of the classic stories of martyrdom is that of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, c. 155 A.D. The following account is from Martyrium Polycarp as reported in Herny Bettenson’s collection of Documents of the Christian Church, p. 12-14 (Oxford University Press) All the crowd, astonished cried out, “Let search be made for Polycarp.” But the most admirable Polycarp, when first he heard of this was not dismayed, but wished to remain in the city. The majority, however, prevailed on him to withdraw. And he withdrew to a small estate not far from the city. There he passed the time with a few companions, wholly occupied night and day in prayer for all men and for the church throughout the whole world; as indeed was his habit. And while…
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