They Gave Their Lives
The church has known many a martyr for the faith and one of the early Christian martyrs was Polycarp (69-155).
Polycarp was a good friend and pupil of the apostle John and a leading figure in the church in the first part of the second century AD.
Polycarp was the bishop of Smyrna and was among one of the early martyrs for the Christian faith.
ln the year 155 at the age of eighty six years Polycarp was arrested by the Romans and brought before the Roman proconsul Statius Quadratus.
The proconsul said to him, “Swear by the fortune of Caesar; repent and say, Away with the Atheists.” (An atheist in this sense was one who denied the existence of the Roman gods.)
Polycarp refused to do so, urging him again the proconsul said, “Swear and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ.”
Polycarp declared, “Eighty six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury, how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour.” Polycarp joyfully went to the stake; amidst the flames he praised God for having been deemed worthy to suffer for Christ’s sake.
And he who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found life shall lose it and he who has lost life for My sake shall find it. (Matt. 10:38,39)