Saint Polycarp shepherded his Christian flock as Bishop in what was called Smyrna (present-day Izmir, Turkey). He trusted God even in the darkest of days. Polycarp lived among pagans and under a government that was opposed to Christianity.
Just before he was martyred for his faith, Polycarp said the following:
“Father… I bless Thee, for having made me worthy of the day and the hour… .” (Martyrdom, Chapter 14).
Saint Polycarp was martyred in 156 A.D. at the age of 86. They led him into a crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. However, the flames did not harm him, and he was finally killed with a dagger.
Saint Polycarp, who is the Patron Saint of earaches, wrote this in his letter to the Philippians:
“Stand fast, therefore, in this conduct and follow the example of the Lord, ‘firm and unchangeable in faith, lovers of the brotherhood, loving each other, united in truth,’ helping each other with the mildness of the Lord, despising no man.”