Ignatius of Antioch.

Counted among the apostolic fathers.


Attributed text(s).
Epistle to the Ephesians 1-21.
Epistle to the Magnesians 1-15.
Epistle to the Trallians 1-13.
Epistle to the Romans 1-10.
Epistle to the Philadelphians 1-11.
Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 1-13.
Epistle to Polycarp 1-8.

Related text(s).
Apostolic fathers.
Martyrdom of Ignatius.

Useful links.
Ignatius at EarlyChurch.
Ignatius in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

Ignatius was bishop of Antioch early in century II, and was martyred in Rome during the principate of Trajan (98-117). Three different recensions of his epistles are extant, of which the longer recension is considered spurious, the middle recension probably genuine, and the shorter recension an abridgement of the middle. Ignatius was a contemporary of Papias and Polycarp. I have a page listing parallels between the gospel of Matthew, believed by many to have been written in Syria, and the epistles of Ignatius.

Jerome, On Famous Men 16:

Ignatius Antiochenae ecclesiae tertius post Petrum apostolum episcopus, persecutionem commovente Traiano damnatus ad bestias, Romam vinctus mittitur. cumque navigans Smyrnam venisset, ubi Polycarpus auditor Ioannis episcopus erat, scripsit unam epistolam ad Ephesios, alteram ad Magnesianos, tertiam ad Trallenses, quartam ad Romanos, et inde egrediens scripsit ad Philadelpheos, et ad Smyrnaeos, et proprie ad Polycarpum, commendans illi Antiochensem ecclesiam, in qua et de evangelio quod nuper a me translatum est super persona Christi ponit testimonium dicens: Ego vero et post resurrectionem in carne eum vidi, et credo quia sit. et quando venit ad Petrum et ad eos qui eum Petro erant dixit eis: Ecce, palpate me et videte, quia non sum daemonium incorporale. et statim tetigerunt eum, et crediderunt. dignum autem videtur, quia tanti viri fecimus mentionem et de epistola eius quam ad Romanos scribit, pauca ponere: De Syria usque ad Romam pugno ad bestias, in mari et in terra, nocte dieque ligatus cum decem leopardis, hoc est, militibus, qui me custodiunt, quibus et cum benefeceris, peiores fiunt. iniquitas autem eorum, mea doctrina est, sed non idcirco iustificatus sum. utinam fruar bestiis, quae mihi sunt praeparatae, quas et oro mihi veloces esse ad interitum, et alliciam eas ad comedendum me, ne sicut aliorum martyrum, non audeant corpus meum attingere. quod si venire noluerint, ego vim faciam, ego me ingeram, ut devorer. ignoscite mihi, filioli: quid mihi prosit, ego scio. nunc incipio Christi esse discipulus, nihil de his quae videntur desiderans, ut Iesum Christum inveniam. ignis, crux, bestiae, confractio ossium, membrorum divisio, et totius corporis contritio, et tota tormenta diaboli, in me veniant, tantum ut Christo fruar. cumque iam damnatus esset ad bestias, ardore patiendi, cum rugientes audiret leones, ait: Frumentum Christi sum, dentibus bestiarum molar, ut panis mundus inveniar. passus est anno undecimo Traiani, reliquiae corporis eius Antiochiae iacent extra portam Daphniticam in coemeterio.

Ignatius, third bishop of the church of Antioch after Peter the apostle, condemned to the wild beasts during the persecution of Trajan, was sent bound to Rome, and when he had come on his voyage as far as Smyrna, where Polycarp the hearer of John was bishop, he wrote one epistle to the Ephesians, another to the Magnesians, a third to the Trallians, a fourth to the Romans, and going thence he wrote to the Philadelphians and to the Smyrneans and especially to Polycarp, commending to him the church at Antioch. In this last he bore witness to the gospel which I have recently translated, in respect of the person of Christ, saying: I indeed saw him in the flesh after the resurrection and I believe that he is, and when he came to Peter and those who were with Peter he said to them: Behold, feel me and see me, that I am not an incorporeal daemon, and straightway they touched him and believed. Moreover it seems worthwhile, inasmuch as we have made mention of such a man and of the epistle which he wrote to the Romans, to give a few quotations: From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and by sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, that is, soldiers, who guard me and who only become worse when they are treated well. Their wrongdoing, however is my schoolmaster, but I am not thereby justified. May I have joy of the beasts that are prepared for me; and I pray that I may find them ready; I will even coax them to devour me quickly that they may not treat me as they have some whom they have refused to touch through fear. And, if they are unwilling, I will compel them to devour me. Forgive me, my little children; I know what is expedient for me. Now do I begin to be a disciple, desiring none of the things visible, that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Let fire and cross and attacks of wild beasts, let wrenching of bones, cutting apart of limbs, crushing of the whole body, tortures of the devil, let all these come upon me if only I may attain unto the joy which is in Christ. When he had been condemned to the wild beasts and with zeal for martyrdom heard the lions roaring, he said: I am the grain of Christ. I am ground by the teeth of the wild beasts so that I may be found the bread of the world. He was put to death the eleventh year of Trajan, and the relics of his body lie in Antioch outside the Daphnitic gate in the cemetery.

Irenaeus, Against Heresies 5.28.4:

Quemadmodum quidam de nostris dixit, propter martyrium in deum adiudicatus ad bestias: Quoniam frumentum sum Christi, et per dentes bestiarum molor, ut mundus panis dei inveniar.

Wherefore a certain one of ours said when he had been condemned to the beasts on account of his testimony to God: Because I am the grain of Christ, and am ground through the teeth of beasts, so that I may be found to be the pure bread of God.

This quotation comes from Ignatius to the Romans 4.1. Note 8 on page 403 of this volume of W. Wigan Harvey, Libros Quinque Adversus Haereses, attributes the following Greek version to a manuscript, kept in the Bodleian Library, of the Acts of Ignatius:

Ως ειπε τις των ημετερων δια την προς θεον μαρτυριαν κατακριθεις προς θηρια οτι, Σιτος ειμι θεου, και δι οδοντων θηριων αληθομαι, ινα καθαρος αρτος ευρεθω.