Icon of St. Ignatios of Antioch – S264


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Egg Tempera


Monk Michael of Athos


20th c. (Late)


St. Ignatios was the child whom Christ set before his disciples and said, “Whoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of Heaven” (Mt. 18:4).   That little child later became a disciple of St. John the Theologian, who made him the Bishop of Antioch.  It was to St. Ignatios that the angels showed the method of antiphonal singing, which is still used in the Church today.

In a.d. 106, the Emperor Trajan heard of his fame and summoned him, offering to make him a senator if he would sacrifice to the Roman gods.  St. Ignatios refused.  The Emperor had him brought in chains to Rome to be devoured by wild beasts.  On the way St. Ignatios was continually saying the Name of God.  When his captors asked him what he was doing he said, “I cannot cease calling upon the name of my God, which I bear in my heart.”  When eaten by the wild beasts, his heart was left untouched.   Remembering what he said, the soldiers cut it open, finding in letters of gold: “JESUS CHRIST.”  We see by this that the practice of saying the Name of Jesus Christ was already present by this time.