Born in the Province of Syria of the Roman Empire
(modern-day Turkey/Syria) in the early 1st century, Ignatius
is said to have converted to Christianity at a young age.
Alongside St. Polycarp, he is identified as an Apostolic
Father and a disciple of St. John the Apostle. Later in his
life, Ignatius was appointed as Bishop of Antioch,
succeeding St. Evodius (who, in turn, had succeeded St.
Peter.) Little is known about Ignatius other than what is
revealed to us in his 7 authentic epistles that he wrote on
his way to martyrdom in Rome. Writing to 6 churches,
Ignatius (who called himself “Theophorus”—God bearer) also
wrote to St. Polycarp during this journey. His letters,
while inspiring, also reveal what the earliest Christians
believed and hence have great historical value. The date of
his martyrdom in Rome is debated, however most historians
agree it occurred around 110 AD. According to St. John
Chrysostom, it occurred specifically in the Roman Colosseum.