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St. Ignatius of Antioch (October 17)

Convert, disciple of St. John the Evangelist and second bishop of Antioch - being appointed about the year 69. In 107 he was arrested during the reign of Emperor Trajan and sentenced to death (for being a Christian). On his way to Rome he traveled thru Asia Minor and Greece, writing seven letters to Christians in communities that contacted him on his final journey. Thanking them for their concern, he told them to be faithful to the teaching they had received and he begged them not to prevent his death for Christ. "I know what is to my advantage. At last I am becoming His disciple. May nothing entice me till I happily make my way to Jesus Chirst! Fire, cross, struggles with wild beasts, wrenching of bones, mangling of limbs - let them come to me provided only I make my way to Jesus Christ. I would rather die and come to Jesus Christ than be king over the entire earth. Him I seek who died for us; Him I love who rose again because of us." He died at Rome on Dec. 20, 107 after being devoured by two lions in the amphitheatre.