” Thou wast both a sharer of the way of life and a successor to the throne of the apostles; and thou didst find discipline to be a means of ascent unto divine vision, O God-inspired one. Wherefore, as one who rightly divided the word of truth, thou didst also contest for the Faith even to the shedding of thy blood, O Hieromartyr Ignatius. Do thou intercede with Christ God that our souls be saved. “
What words of praise can we unworthy ones use to offer praise to the divine Ignatius, the diadem of the Church and vessel of the Holy Spirit!
From the Prolog of Ochrid, we learn more into the nature of this Spiritual Lion:
“This holy man is called `the God-bearer’ because he constantly bore the name of the Living God in his heart and on his lips. According to tradition, he was thus named because he was held in the arms of God incarnate, Jesus Christ. On a day when the Lord was teaching His disciples humility, He took a child and placed him among them, saying: ‘Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven(Matthew 18:4)’. This child was Saint Ignatius.
Later, Ignatius was a disciple of St. John the Theologian, together with Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. As Bishop of Antioch, Ignatius governed the Church of God as a good shepherd and was the first to introduce antiphonal chanting in the Church, in which two choirs alternate the chanting. This manner of chanting was revealed to St. Ignatius by the angels in heaven”
Saint Ignatius is an extremely important historical figure as he is a direct link from the Apostles to the Early Church of Christ, thus challenging the assertion of some that the Holy Spirit departed upon the death of the last Apostle. Saint Ignatius has gifted the Church with several letters of Epistle, strengthening the faith of early Christians and confirming dogmas essential to the Church, thus proving the Orthodox Church to be the one and very “Early Christian Church”.
The great Hierarch and Martyr of Christ suffered in the year 106 in Rome at the time of the Christ-hating Emperor Trajan. Saint Ignatius continues to hearken to the prayers of the faithful, even to this day helping all who call upon him for help.