The Martyrdom of Polycarp is one of the works of the Apostolic Fathers, and as such is one of the very few genuine such writings from the actual age of the persecutions. The work details Polycarp's death at the age of 86 years old, at the hands of the Romans, in the second century AD. It is among the first recorded Acts of the Martyrs.
Though the author of the "Martyrdom of Polycarp" is unknown, the story is recorded by Eusebius, who claims to have received it through a letter addressed to the Church of Philemelium by the Church of Smyrna.
Polycarp's famous refusal to revile Jesus Christ is quoted below from the following English translations:
Charles H. Hoole's 1885 translation And when the proconsul pressed him, and said, Swear, and I will release thee, revile Christ; Polycarp said, Eighty and six years have I served him, and in nothing hath he wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?
J.B. Lightfoot. Adapt. and mod. (c) 1990 But when the magistrate pressed him hard and said, 'Swear the oath, and I will release thee; revile the Christ,' Polycarp said, 'Fourscore and six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?'
Kirsopp Lake, 1912 But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: "Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ," Polycarp said: "For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"
Roberts-Donaldson Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;" Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"
|← Introductory Note to the Martyrdom of Polycarp||Ante-Nicene
Fathers Vol.1, The Martyrdom of Polycarp by
, translated by
Schaff et al.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp
The Encyclical Epistle of the Church at Smyrna Concerning the Martyrdom of the Holy Polycarp
The Church of God which sojourns at Smyrna, to the Church of God sojourning in Philomelium, and to all the congregations of the Holy and Catholic Church in every place: Mercy, peace, and love from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, be multiplied.