Ignatius of Antioch, Saint (ĭgnāˈshəs, ănˈtēŏk) [key], d. c.107, bishop of Antioch and Christian martyr, called Theophorus [Gr., = God-bearer]. He was probably a convert and a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. On his way to Rome to be martyred by the wild beasts of the amphitheater, he wrote the important letters to the churches in Rome and in Asia Minor, and to St. Polycarp. The seven epistles are an invaluable testimony to the beliefs and internal organization of the early Christians. St. Ignatius is the first writer to stress the virgin birth. He firmly denounced Docetism and viewed the mystery of the Trinity as an assumed doctrine of faith. The only guarantee against heresy, he taught, is the church united under a bishop. St. Ignatius is the first in Christian literature to use the word Catholic. Feast: Feb. 1.
See J. A. Kleist, tr., The Epistles of St. Clement of Rome and St. Ignatius of Antioch (1946), V. Corwin, Saint Ignatius and Christianity in Antioch (1960).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.