The apostles served the Lord Jesus and later provided leadership to the first generation Christian believers. They were of such importance that the word “apostle” occurs approximately seventy-nine times in the New Testament. Acts of the Apostles portrays the apostles as leaders of the first church in Jerusalem during the Church’s first decade. The apostles truly established the church and with their fast we contemplate the glory of God, their faith, and hardships in which they overcame.
I would like to share with you the, “Letter of Ignatius to the Romans.” This is an authentic ancient letter with versions in both Coptic and Arabic.
With the threat of impending martyrdom, St Ignatius is being escorted by soldiers from the city of Antioch to the capital at Rome. St Ignatius role of bishop led to his arrest. This is considered the Holy of Holies and an excerpt from the letter reads to the Romans’ as follows:
“I am writing to all the churches and am insisting to everyone that I die for God of my own free will–unless you hinder me. I implore you: do not be “unseasonably kind” to me. Let me be food for the wild beasts, through whom I can reach God. I am God’s wheat, and I am being ground by the teeth of the wild beasts, that I might prove to be pure bread. Better yet, coax the wild beasts, that they may become my tomb and leave nothing of my body behind, lest I become a burden to someone once I have fallen asleep. Then I will truly be a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world will no longer see my body. Pray to the Lord on my behalf, that through these instruments I may be a sacrifice to God. I do not give you orders like Peter and Paul; they were apostles, I am a convict; they were free, but I am even now still a slave…….”
May the blessings of St Ignatious be with us all. AMEN.