St. Polycarp (d. 156)
Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), disciple of St. John the Apostle and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch was a revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century.
St. Ignatius, on his way to Rome to be martyred, visited Polycarp at Smyrna, and later at Troas wrote him a personal letter. The Asia Minor Churches recognized Polycarps leadership by choosing him as a representative to discuss with Pope Anicetus the date of the Easter celebration in Romequite a controversy in the early Church.
Only one of the many letters written by Polycarp has been preserved, the one he wrote to the Church of Philippi, Macedonia.
At 86, Polycarp was led into the crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. The flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger. The centurion ordered the saints body burned. The Acts of Polycarps martyrdom are the earliest preserved, fully reliable account of a Christian martyrs death. He died in 156.