Ignatius of Antioch, A.D. 57

Ignatius was discipled by Saint John the Evangelist and he was also friends with Polycarp of Smyrna who was significantly younger than Ignatius and was discipled by Ignatius:

Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch a.k.a. Ignatius Theophorus (God bearer), was born around 35 A.D. and died in 108 A.D. Antioch was a prosperous town on the Orontes River a few miles upstream of the Mediterranean Sea on the southwestern coast of the Roman Provence of Syria. The city was by by the Macedonian General Seleucus in the late 4th century. It was one of the Mediterranean terminals for the Asian trade of the Silk Route. It was located on the road on to The Amanian Gate, the pass through the northern Amanus Mountains, connecting Cilicia to southern Anatolia (Turkey) and northern Syria. Antioch’s location made the city a prosperous region trade center.

City of Antioch on the Orontes River

In 57 A.D. Ignatius was seated as the Bishop of Antioch by Saint Peter the Apostle, the first Bishop of Antioch. In his several letters he refers to “the gospel” (the early term used to indicate the 4 gospels) as an authoritative writing. In his Letter to the Magnesians, Ignatius warns the Magnesians not to worship God on the Jewish Sabbath (Saturday), but rather to Worship on the “Lord’s Day” (Sunday; the day Christ rose from the grave). Magnesia was a province in Greece, north of Athens on the shore of the Aegean Sea. In his Letter to the Smymaeans Ignatius gave instruction concerning the Katholikos Church (catholic is Greek for universal, complete, or whole). Smyrna was a port city located on the ionian coast of modern day western Turkey. In his Letter to the Ephesians Ignatius teaches that Jesus Christ is the “pre-existent, Divinity, the Logos of God”. Ephesus was another port city located on the Ionian coast of modern day western Turkey, south of Smyrna.

Roman Antioch on the Orontes River

Ignatius taught the ancient apostolic, orthodox, biblical Doctrine of the Nature of God, i.e. that God has an “essence” (ousia) or “nature” (which are synonyms terms) and “uncreated Divine energies” (his knowable attributes). His essence is uncreated (it has always been, and always will be; it is the ultimate prime cause of everything else in the cosmos). His nature is “inaccessible, unknowable, incommunicable and incomprehensible.

The Divine Energies are inseparable from His essence and it is His energies which go forth and manifest or communicate with his creation (i.e. his energies produce the attributes which we can know something about). God’s attributes include that He is a spirit (Jehovah, in Hebrew YHWH, or “He who is”), He is eternal (always was, always will be), He is all-good, and all-righteous, He is omniscient (all knowing), He is omnipotent (almighty), He is omnipresent (everywhere), He is impassable (constant, unchangeable, immutable), and He is self-sufficing to Himself and all-blessed.

Ignatius also taught the ancient orthodox, biblical Doctrine of the Nature of Man, i.e. that Man (Adam before the fall) was created by God with a physical body, and God then breathed into man’s body an immortal (eternal) soul. The soul is man’s essence (i.e. man’s nature); the soul possesses reason, self-awareness, and free will, e.g., man’s spirit (nous); body soul and spirit! It is the soul that the Holy Spirit indwells and thereby associates with man’s spirit. When man choose to disobey God (by eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) man rejected the Holy Spirit and suppressed it (i.e., man fell from grace and separated himself from God’s Holy Spirit). Without the Holy Spirit, fallen man’s corrupted free will leads man only to evil; rather than “not my will but thy will be done”, man wills and does as he wants. It is the indwelling of the Holy spirit in man’s soul that accounts for the restored “mystical union” of man and God which follows man’s salvation experience. When a man dies, his soul does not die, but it separates from (leaves) the man’s body and it proceeds to its “particular judgement” before God. If it is the soul of a good man, it is judged worthy and it proceeds to paradise as a member of the Heavenly Church (in God’s Heavenly Kingdom) and eternally dwells in the presence of God. As a living member of God’s universal church the “departed souls” of the saints remain in communion with all the rest of God’s church (earthly & heavenly). If it is the soul of an evil man it goes to dwell for eternity in hell.

In A.D. 108 Ignatius was arrested and transported to Rome where he was “tried” for being a Christian and sentenced to death and was martyred by lions in the Roman coliseum.