Today we honor Polycarp, a grand man in the early Church. Born in the year 76, he grew up listening as St. John told story after about what Jesus had done and said. Polycarp followed John as bishop of Smyrna. He was there in 105 when St. Ignatius was being carried off to Rome. The crime for which Ignatius was thrown to the lions had been that he refused to join the officials of Antioch in burning incense to the gods of Rome.
Forty years later when just being a Christian become a capitol offense Polycarp was bound to a stake for burning, the flames, without touching him, formed an arch above and around him, so that an official had to stab him to death.
What made Polycarp of greatest value to us was the fund of teachings of Jesus that he handed on to us though his disciple Irenaeus.