St. Polycarp Extinguishing the Fire at Smyrna; at the church that bears his name, Izmir (Smyrna), Turkey. He was a direct disciple of St. John the Evangelist, and therefore an Apostolic Father. He was martyred at 86 for refusing to curse Christ and burn incense to the emperor. While his age at martyrdom is remarkable, the manner in which he conducted himself was even more so – full of innocence, grace, wisdom, forgiveness, he won over his captors sent to fetch him to Rome, who allowed him to make a kind of farewell tour of episcopal visitations along the route, meeting and encouraging others, blessing all he met. His goodness so embarrassed the Empire that they put a stop to all persecutions for awhile – until another Emperor rose up to demand worship. (artist unknown)

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