Legends of the Blessed Sacrament – Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr

[Saint Ignatius of Antioch]Article

The Emperor Trajan being puffed up with pride, on account of his victories over the enemies of the empire, resolved to show his gratitude to the gods by a general persecution of the Christians. In the year A.D. 107, after having obtained a victory over the Parthians at Antioch, he caused this edict to be issued. Hardly had Ignatius learned the intention of the Emperor than he willingly permitted himself to be conducted before the magistrates. Now when Trajan saw the Saint he asked him, ‘Who is this wicked spirit that so lightly disobeys our commands, yea, and persuadeth others to ruin themselves?’

Ignatius replied, ‘No one can call Theophorus an evil spirit, for the evil spirits have long been overcome by the servants of God. If, however, thou callest me evil on account of the evil spirits, because they must feel my power over them, then mayst thou be right. Since I contain within myself Christ, the supreme King of Heaven, I am able to annihilate all their assaults.’

Then said Trajan, ‘And who is Theophorus?’

Ignatius replied, ‘He who carries Christ in his bosom.’

Trajan said, ‘Dost thou also carry Christ in thee — Him who was crucified by Pontius Pilate?’

Ignatius replied, ‘Yes; for it is written, “I will dwell in them and move in them.”‘

Then said Trajan, ‘We command that Ignatius, who says of himself that he carries within himself the Crucified, shall be bound by soldiers and led to the great city of Rome, there to be made food for the wild beasts, and to serve as a show for the people.’

When the Saint heard this he cried aloud, ‘I thank Thee, O Lord, that Thou dost honour me with Thy most perfect love; that, with Thy Apostle Paul, I may be bound with bands of iron.’ Then he gave himself up gladly into the hands of the soldiers to be bound in chains, and was taken to Rome.

Saint Ignatius gave his life for Jesus in the year 107, about seven years after the death of the beloved Apostle Saint John, whose disciple he had been. His bones were brought to Antioch, and kept there as a very precious treasure, until later on they were translated to Rome and placed in the church of Saint Clement, where at the present time they rest under the altar of the ciborium.

MLA Citation

  • Emily Mary Shapcote. “Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, Martyr”. Legends of the Blessed Sacrament, 1877. CatholicSaints.Info. 27 November 2014. Web. 4 August 2021. <>