From the Prologue

The Holy Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-bearer

The principal feast of St. Ignatius is celebrated in winter, on December 20. On this date we commemorate the translation of his relics from Rome, where he suffered martyrdom, to Antioch, where he had earlier been bishop. When St. Ignatius was summoned to Rome to account for his faith before Emperor Trajan, he was accompanied on this long journey by several citizens from Antioch, who were motivated in this by a great love toward their wonderful archpastor. Since he would never deny his faith in Christ, this saint of God, who abhorred all the adulation and promises of Emperor Trajan, was condemned to death and thrown to wild beasts in the Circus Maximus. The wild beasts tore him apart, and he surrendered his soul to God. His companions then gathered his exposed bones, took them to Antioch, and honorably buried them. When the Persians captured Antioch in the sixth century, the relics of St. Ignatius were again translated from Antioch to Rome.

HYMN OF PRAISE: Saint Ignatius the God-bearer

The bitter death of Christ dulled the sting of death

And banished forever the irrational fear of death.

A host of martyrs flocked to Christ in death,

But without fear, complaints or shrieks.

Many hurried to death with rejoicing,

Because, before their deaths, they saw angels and heaven.

St. Ignatius traveled to Rome.

Along the way, he prayed to the Living God

As a son would pray to his parents,

That the teeth of the beasts would grind him!

God granted him that for which he prayed.

Behold, the saint, having been ground, remained alive!

Alive and whole he remains, before the Table of Heaven,

Bread made tender by torture for Christ—

St. Ignatius, the courageous God-bearer.

Throughout the ages he imparts courage to those being tortured.

There can only be two kinds of suffering:

For the truth or for sins—this cannot be concealed.

Pain for one’s sins is pain without hope,

But pain for the truth is joy without sorrow.

As light through rain paints the rainbow,
Thus does joy through tears and gentle sorrow
Depict Paradise and God in the spiritual heavens,