The Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch: Link Between the Apostles and the Church Fathers

“Ad fontes” is Latin for “back to the sources.” Returning to the sources of the Catholic Church is the best way to learn about the Faith. After the scriptures, St. Ignatius of Antioch is the perfect place to start. He wrote seven letters while escorted to Rome from Antioch to be martyred. They paint a vivid picture of the Catholic Church after the time of the Apostles. Listen as Richaél Lucero points out some of her favorite parts in these need-to-read Catholic letters.


Resources referenced

The Letters of St. Ignatius of Antioch: Abridged with mixed translation by David Bates of

Quotes referenced

[St. Ignatius’] epistles are compact and to the point, pastoral in manner, doctrinal in content, encouraging in tone.

Mike Aquialina

Allow me to become food for the wild beasts which are the means of making my way to God.

I am the wheat of God, and let me be ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of Christ.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to the Romans

…worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy of obtaining her every desire, worthy of being deemed holy, and which presides over love.

… you who are filled inseparably with the grace of God, and you who are purified from every foreign stain, I wish abundance of happiness in Jesus Christ our God.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to the Romans

I exhort you to do all things with a divine harmony, the bishop is to preside in the place of God, while the presbyters are to function as the council of the Apostles, and the deacons are entrusted with the ministry of Jesus Christ.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to the Magnesians

So, then, be on your guard against such people! And this you will do if you are not puffed up and also if you cling inseparably to Jesus Christ our God, to the bishop, and to the precepts of the Apostles.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to the Trallians

Take care, then, to have but one Eucharist, for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup to unite us with His Blood; one altar; as there is one bishop, along with the presbytery and deacons, my fellow-servants.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to the Philadelphians

The celebration of the Eucharist is valid only if it is administered by the bishop or by one to whom he has entrusted it. Where the bishop is, there let the people also be; just as where Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans

Give heed to the bishop, that God also may give heed to you. Labour together; strive together; run together; suffer together; rest together and rise together. You are stewards in God’s house, members of His household and His servants.

Please Him under whom you fight, from Whom you receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism be your armour; your faith be your helmet; your love be your spear; your patience as a complete panoply. …

To sum up: be long-suffering towards one another and gentle, as God is with you.

Letter Of St. Ignatius to St. Polycarp

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