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For the Third Saturday in Advent: Ignatius of Antioch on the Incarnation

December 20, 2014

Here is another post from years ago, which bears repeating–this one from Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius, second Bishop of Antioch, wrote seven Epistles around 105 A.D., five of which are addressed to churches in Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Philadelphia and Smryna. One is addressed to the church in Rome, where he would meet his martyrdom, and the last is addressed to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. These short quotes come from his epistles:

There is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary and of God; first possible and then impossible, even Jesus Christ our Lord.

–from the Epistle to the Ephesians

For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost.

–from the Epistle to the Ephesians

I glorify God, even Jesus Christ, who has given you such wisdom. For I have observed that ye are perfected in an immoveable faith, as if ye were nailed to the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, both in the flesh and in the spirit, and are established in love through the blood of Christ, being fully persuaded with respect to our Lord, that He was truly of the seed of David according to the flesh, and the Son of God according to the will and power of God; that He was truly born of a virgin, was baptized by John, in order that all righteousness might be fulfilled by Him; and was truly, under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch, nailed[to the cross] for us in His flesh. Of this fruit we are by His divinely-blessed passion, that He might set up a standard s for all ages, through His resurrection, to all His holy and faithful [followers], whether among Jews or Gentiles, in the one body of His Church.

–from the Epistle to the Smyrnaeans

It is most interesting to me to see these statements so clearly made, so soon after the last of the inspired Scriptures was written, and in agreement with what we hold as the faith of the historic Church regarding our Lord.

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