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Maria Lectrix

Public domain audiobooks, six days a week, for folks with a Catholic taste in literature. Enjoy! Clan Honor Mondays: Fitz-James O'Brien works. Lit Tuesdays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Acts of the Wednesdays: Early Christian works. Mystery Thursdays: Mystery short stories or novels. Lit Fridays: Short stories, novels, or poems. Saintly Saturdays: Later Christian works.

Mary reading to ChristA Vatican Library catalog page, 1518

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

#15: "Epistle to the Romans" by St. Ignatius of Antioch

Here's another work by an early Christian teacher. (These folks are called the Fathers. Well, the ones who weren't moonbats are.) St. Ignatius of Antioch, like his friend St. Polycarp, worked under the Apostle John (then an old geezer). St. Ignatius eventually became bishop of Antioch, where he was noted for steering his flock so skillfully that they didn't get persecuted under Domitian. Which was good. But almost all his contemporaries of note got martyred, and here were he and Polycarp living to a ripe old age. (St. John's longevity must've been catching.) So one day St. Ignatius decided he felt called to go talk about Christianity to the Emperor, and that was about it for him. (St. Polycarp got martyred later on, too. Happy ending.)

I'm being a bit flippant here, but I'm actually pretty awed by St. Iggy. (So was St. Inigo de Loyola. That's why he went by Ignatius in religious life.) He was a tough old bird, and some of his writing is really beautiful. Also, I found out in the process of checking my facts that his feastday as currently celebrated is actually next Wednesday, right on schedule for me to be reading another religious text out loud. The guy's still all about spreading the word, eh?

(But if you want an even more flippant portrait of St. Iggy as a younger and more foolish man -- along with other figures of the early Church -- I recommend Barbara Hambly's Roman historical mystery, Search the Seven Hills, aka The Quirinal Hill Affair. I would tell you other reasons why it's good, but they would all be spoilers.)

Anyway, here's St. Ignatius of Antioch's "Epistle to the Romans", written on his way to martyrdom, in an attempt to prevent any extraordinary efforts by the Christians in Rome to save him from being martyred. (To be honest, there was probably nothing they could have done anyway; they would just have endangered themselves. So by asking them not to try and showing that he wasn't sad about his impending death, he was probably trying to stop people from doing anything stupid.)

You can read this and other epistles by him on newadvent.org or CCEL.

"Epistle to the Romans"
13 min.


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