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Ignatius to the Philadelphians

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians,
                      translated by Charles H. Hoole, 1885


0:1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the Church of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ which is in Philadelphia, in Asia, to her that hath found mercy and is established in the unity of God, and rejoiceth continually in the suffering of our Lord, and in his resurrection, being fully assured in all mercy, whom I salute in the blood of Jesus Christ, who is an eternal and abiding joy, especially if they be in unity with the bishop, and with the presbyters and deacons who are with him, who have been made manifest according to the will of Jesus Christ, whom his own will hath confirmed and settled by his Holy Spirit.


1:1 I have known that your bishop, not of himself nor through men, hath acquired the ministry that belongeth to the common good, nor yet according to vainglory, but by the love of God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ; at whose modesty I am ashamed; who, though he is silent, hath more power than they who speak vain things; for he is in harmony with the commandments, as the lyre with its strings.

1:2 Wherefore my soul deemeth happy his disposition towards God, knowing that it is virtuous and perfect, even his constancy and gentleness in all the moderation of the living God.


2:1 Being, therefore, children of light and truth, avoid division and evil teachings; but where the shepherd is, there do ye follow as sheep.

2:2 For many wolves, which seem worthy of belief, lead captive by evil pleasure them who were running the godly race. But in your unity they shall find no opportunity.


3:1 Abstain from evil herbage, which Jesus Christ doth not cultivate, because it is not the planting of the Father. Not that I have found division among you, but thorough purity.

3:2 For as many as are of God and of Jesus Christ, these are with the bishop; and as many as have repented, and have entered into the unity of the Church, these, too, shall be of God, that they may live according to Jesus Christ.

3:3 Be not deceived, my brethren; if any one followeth a schismatic, he doth not inherit the kingdom of God; if any man walketh in an alien opinion, he agreeth not with the passion of Christ.


4:1 Be diligent, therefore, to use one eucharist, for there is one flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup, for union with his blood; one altar, even as there is one bishop, together with the presbytery and the deacons, who are my fellow-servants, to the end that whatever ye do, ye may do it according unto God.


5:1 My brethren, I am exceedingly poured out in my love for you, and, with joy above measure, I confirm you, yet not I, but Jesus Christ; and though I am in bonds for his sake, I fear the more as being not yet perfected in suffering. But your prayer unto God shall perfect me, to the end that I may attain unto that lot which, in mercy, hath been given unto me, flying for refuge unto the gospel as unto the flesh of Jesus, and unto the Apostles as to the presbyters of the Church;

5:2 and let us love the prophets also; because they were heralds of the gospel, and hoped in him, and waited for him; in whom having also believed, they were saved in the unity of Jesus Christ, being saints holy and worthy of love and admiration, witnessed to by Jesus Christ, and numbered together in the gospel of the common hope.


6:1 But if any man preach unto you Judaism, hearken not unto him; for it is better to hear Christianity from one circumcised, than Judaism from one uncircumcised. But if both speak not concerning Jesus Christ, then are they in my view sepulchres and graves, on which are written only the names of men.

6:2 Avoid, therefore, the evil devices and lyings in wait of the ruler of this world, lest being distressed by his influence, ye become weak in love; but be ye all united with undivided heart.

6:3 I thank my God that I am of a good conscience among you, and that no one is able to boast either secretly or openly that I have been a burden unto any, either in great things or small. I pray that all unto whom I have spoken may not have this thing as a testimony against them.


7:1 For even though some have held that I was a deceiver according to the flesh, yet the Spirit, being of God, is not deceived; for he knoweth from whence he cometh, and whither he goeth, and he searcheth out hidden things. I cried while I was among you, and spake with a loud voice, saying, Give heed unto the bishop, and to the presbyters, and to the deacons.

7:2 But they suspected that I spake these things because I knew beforehand the division of certain of them; but he, for whose name I am in bonds, is witness unto me that I knew not these things through the flesh of man. But the spirit preached, saying these things: Do nothing apart from the bishop; keep your flesh as the temple of God; love unity, avoid divisions; be imitators of Jesus Christ, even as he is of his Father.


8:1 I therefore performed my proper work, as a man perfectly prepared for unity. For where there is division and anger, God dwelleth not. God, therefore, granteth forgiveness unto all who repent, if they repent in accordance with the unity of God, and the council of the bishop. I trust in the grace of Jesus Christ, who shall loose from you every chain;

8:2 and I exhort you to do nothing of contention, but according to the discipline of Christ. Since I have heard certain men say, "Unless I find it in the ancients, I believe it not in the Gospel." And when I said unto them that "It is written," they replied, "That it is set forth aforetime." But my archives are Jesus Christ; his cross and his death, his resurrection, and the faith which is through him, are inviolable archives, through which I desire to be justified by means of your prayers.


9:1 Good, too, are the priests; but better is the High Priest, who is entrusted with the Holy of Holies, who alone is entrusted with the secret things of God: he being the gate of the Father, through which enter Abraham and Isaac, and Jacob, and the prophets, and the apostles, and the Church; all these come into the unity of God.

9:2 But the gospel hath something peculiar; namely, the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, his suffering, and the resurrection. For the beloved prophets were heralds for him; but the gospel is the perfecting of incorruption. All things are alike good, if ye believe in love.


10:1 Since, according to your prayer and the mercies which ye have in Christ Jesus, it hath been announced unto me that the Church that is at Antioch, in Syria, is at peace, it is becoming unto you, as unto a Church of God, to elect a deacon to go there as an ambassador of God; so that when ye are together, ye may rejoice with them, and glorify the name.

10:2 Blessed in Jesus Christ is he who shall be deemed worthy of this ministry, and ye shall be glorified. Now, if ye are willing to do this on behalf of the name of God, it is not impossible; even as the Churches that are nearest, some sent bishops, and others presbyters and deacons.


11:1 But concerning Philo, the deacon from Cilicia, a man having a good report, who now also in the word of God serveth me together with Rheus Agathopus, a chosen man, who accompanieth me from Syria, having bid farewell to life, who also bear witness unto you; and I give thanks unto God on your behalf, that ye received them, also as the Lord received you. But may they who dishonoured them be forgiven by the grace of Jesus Christ.

11:2 The love of the brethren in Troas saluteth you; whence also I write unto you by means of Burrhus, who was sent to me jointly by the Ephesians and Smyrnaeans, as a mark of honour. The Lord Jesus Christ on whom they hope shall honour them in flesh and in spirit, in faith, love, and unity. Fare ye well in Jesus Christ, our common hope.

{End of Ignatius to the Philadelphians}

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