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The Letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch

Chapters 12 and 13 tell the story of Ignatius’ “pilgrimage” to Rome under guard where he eventually is executed in the Flavian Amphitheater, the “Colosseum.” His journey is my fictional account of those last months of his life.

The letters to the Christians of Ephesus and Rome are historical treasures, as are the excerpts from his letter to his friend Polycarp, the bishop (episkopos) of Smyrna.

Translations from the Greek of Ignatius’ letters have survived and been passed on over the centuries since he first wrote them in the early 2nd century.


There are seven letters that scholars have accepted as genuine (others attributed to him are called “spurious” and are of some interest). The seven letters:

To the Ephesians

To the Magnesians

To the Trallians

To the Romans

To the Philadelphians

To the Smyrnaeans

To Polycarp

These letters provide valuable insight into the character of Ignatius, his theology and his ecclesiology. The letters are all we know of Ignatius, other than the report of the famous Church historian, Eusebius of Caesarea, who writes that Ignatius followed Evodius as bishop of Antioch, sometime in the late 1st century. Thus, other than his letters, his life in this story derives from my imagination. I pray that my fictional characterization does not detract from the beauty and depth of the words he has passed down to us.


The translation used  The Peregrine's Odyssey is that of Cyril Richardson, Early Christian Fathers, Vol. I, Westminster Press 1953

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