It is with great pleasure I present to you: The Ignatius Project

In 1998, as a freshman at Cal-State Fullerton, I began to study the Scriptures and Christian history in-depth. Soon I became aware of an Early Church Father by the name of Ignatius of Antioch. He had been a student of John the Apostle, and was a leader in the second generation Church.

Around AD 110 Ignatius was arrested and transported from Syrian Antioch to Rome, where he was destined to die a martyr's death. On his way to Rome, Ignatius penned these seven letters as his farewell and dying testament to six churches and his dear friend, Polycarp.

I was deeply touched by these letters then, and they still resonate with me today. To me they are a valuable tool in understanding the pitfalls so often encountered by second-generation Christians. I believe these letters contain much needed advice and address many of the concerns faced by the modern Church.

The following edition of the Seven Letters of Ignatius is based on the 1693 translation work of William Wake, and has been revised by myself since 2002. However, in the Letter to Smyrna this is only true for the first 7 1/2 verses; the majority has been taken from Cyril Richardson's 1935 translation. Such is the case for now, until I can revise it myself.

I pray these letters are a blessing to your life as they were to mine.


Pastor Mike
January 2013

1 Ignatius: The Letter to the Church at Ephesus

Posted by Michael La Framboise on Friday, January 25, 2013
Chapter 1
FROM Ignatius, also known as Theophorus, to the church at Ephesus, in Asia Minor, deservingly joyful, as you are blessed through the greatness and fullness of God the Father; predestined before the world began to be ever moving towards an enduring and unchangeable glory; united and chosen through His death, according to the will of the Father and Jesus Christ our God-- all joy in Jesus Christ and His undefiled grace.

     2 I have heard of your name, so beloved in God; which you have quite justly attained by a habit of  righteousness, according to the faith and love which is in Jesus Christ our Savior.  3  I  have also heard how as followers of God, stirring up yourselves in the blood of Christ, you have accomplished that supernatural work in the Spirit which was unnatural to you in the flesh.  4  After hearing that I came chained from Syria (for the common Name and Hope, trusting through your prayers to fight with the beasts at Rome; that by martyrdom I may indeed become the disciple of the One who gave Himself as an offering and sacrifice for us to God) you hastened to see me.  Therefore, in the Name of God I received your whole congregation in Onesimus.  5  He is ours by inexpressible love; however, according to the flesh he is your bishop; whom, by Jesus Christ, I implore you to love, striving to be like him.  Bless God who has granted you, who are so precious, to have such an excellent bishop.  6  Concerning my fellow servant Burrhus, who is your most blessed deacon in the things pertaining to God: I ask that he may remain longer with me, for the honor of both you and your bishop.  7  I have also received Crocus, who is worthy of both God and you, as the pattern of  your love; he has refreshed me in all things, just as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ shall refresh him, along with Onesimus, Burrhus, Euclus, and Fronto; in whom I have seen all of your love. May I be ever worthy to have joy in you.

    8  Therefore it is fitting that by all means you should glorify Jesus Christ who has glorified you: perfectly joined together by a uniform obedience.  In the same mind and judgment: speaking the same things concerning all things.  9  Being subject to your bishop and presbytery, that you may be wholly and thoroughly sanctified.  10  These things I prescribe to you, but not as some extraordinary person: for although I am chained for His Name, I am not yet perfect in Christ Jesus.  In fact, I am only now beginning to learn what it means to follow Him; so I speak to you as fellow disciples as we follow Christ together.  11  I would think that I should have been stirred up by you: in faith, admonition, patience, and perseverance; but as love does not allow me to be silent with you, I have first decided to exhort  you, that all of you would run together according to the will of God.  12  Just as Jesus Christ, our inseparable Life, is sent by the will of the Father, the bishops are sent to the uttermost parts of the Earth by the will of Jesus Christ.  13  Thereby it becomes you to run according to the will of the bishop-- just as you are.  14  Worthy of God, your renowned presbytery is fitted perfectly to the bishop: as strings to a harp.  15  Therefore the song of Jesus Christ is proclaimed among you: in the key of love, every person in one accord making up the chorus;  16  being unified in love as you take up the song of God, you may sing in perfect harmony, with one voice, to the Father through Jesus Christ; for the purpose that he may not only hear you, but perceive by your works that you are indeed members of the Body of His Son.  17  For this reason it is wise for you to live in faultless unity, that you may always partake in the fellowship of God.

Chapter 2 
IF in this short time I have become so acquainted with your bishop-- in a spiritual sense, rather than a carnal one-- how much more delighted are you to be joined to him?
  
    May the Church be to Jesus Christ, as Jesus Christ is to the Father: that all things may agree In unity.  2  Let no one deceive himself: if a man is not at the altar he is deprived of the Bread of God. For if the prayers of one or two be of such force, as we are told, how much more powerful are the united prayers of the bishop and the whole church?  3  Therefore he that does not come together with the rest of the church is prideful, and has already condemned himself.  As it is written, “God resists the proud”.  Understanding this let us take heed that we do not set ourselves against the bishop, remaining subject to God.

    4  The more a person sees his bishop silent, let him the more revere him. For whomever the Master of the House sends to be over His Household, we in like manner ought to receive him, just as we would He that sent him.  Therefore it is evident that we ought to look upon the bishop, even as we would look upon the Lord Himself.

    5  Certainly Onesimus himself greatly commends your good order in God: that all of you are living according to the Truth, and that no heresy dwells among you.  Furthermore, none of you listen to anyone more than to Jesus Christ, who speaks to you truthfully.  6  However, there are those who carry the Name of Christ in wicked deceit, doing things which are contrary to God; you must avoid these people, as you would a wild and dangerous animal.  As ravenous dogs they bite, though secretly: you must guard yourselves against these men as if they carried an incurable disease.
 
    7  There is only the One Physician, both of flesh and of Spirit; made and not made: God incarnate; true Life, even in death; both of Mary and of God: first passible, then impassible-- He is Jesus Christ our Lord.  8  On this wise let no man deceive you; as indeed you are not deceived because you are completely the servants of God.

    You are not troubled by any contention or strife in your midst  because you live according to the will of God.  For this my soul is yours; and I give myself as an expedient offering for your Church of Ephesus, which indeed is so well known throughout the world.

    9  They who are of the flesh cannot accomplish spiritual things; likewise those who are of the Spirit cannot do the things of the flesh.  (Faith is not of that which leads to infidelity; nor is infidelity of that which leads to faith.)  But even what you do according to the flesh is spiritual, because you do all things according to Jesus Christ.

    10  I have heard of those who passed through your midst with perverse doctrine; and how you did not allow them to sow their seed among you, but closed your ears so as not to receive those things which were sown by them.

    You have become the stones of the Father’s Temple, in that you are prepared for His building: lifted up, as with an engine, by the Cross of Christ;  11  using the Holy Spirit as the Rope; supported by your Faith; led by your love in the Way of God.  12  Therefore all of you and your godly assembly are on the same journey; you are His spiritual temples: full of Christ, full of holiness, and in all things adorned with Christ.

    13  I rejoice that I have been thought worthy to converse with you through this letter. I share in your joy; that in respect to the next life, you love nothing but God alone.

Chapter 3 
PRAY without ceasing for others, as there is always a hope that they will come to repentance, that they may yet indeed attain to God; and if they will not see by any other way, then it is important to instruct them through your works.  2  Be calm in their anger; humble in their boasting; prayerful in their blasphemy; faithful in their error; and be gentle when they are cruel.  Do not endeavor to imitate their ways.  3  Let us be their brothers in all kindness and moderation; even more let us be followers of the Lord.  For who was ever more unjustly used? More destitute? More despised?
 
    4  Let no herb of the Devil be found in you; but keep your body and spirit holy and sober in Christ Jesus.  5  Since the last days are upon us, let us reverence and fear the patience of God, lest we be condemned.  6  For we should either fear the wrath to come, or love the grace presently enjoyed-- by one or the other we may be found in Christ Jesus: entering True Life.

    7 Be mindful never to place anything above our Lord; it is for Him that I wear these chains, these spiritual jewels; I wish to God that by your prayers I might rise up through them.  8  I entreat you to always make me a partaker in your prayers, that I may be found in the congregation of the Church of Ephesus; you who have always agreed with the Apostle's Doctrine through the Power of Jesus Christ.  9  I know who I am and to whom I write: I am one condemned; you have obtained mercy: I am in danger; you have been rescued.  10  Yours is the passage of those martyred for God; in the mystery of the Gospel you were the friends of Paul, that holy martyr. The deservedly most joyful Paul: at his feet may I be found when I have attained to God. All throughout his letter he mentioned you in Christ Jesus.

    11  Therefore to the praise and glory of God, take care to come more fully together. Because when you are assembled in one accord in the same place, the power of the Devil is ruined, and his destruction is dissolved by the unity of your faith.  12  Surely nothing is better than peace, which abolishes both spiritual and earthly war.  13  None of this peace will be kept from you, if your faith and love is perfect in Christ Jesus; because faith and love# are the beginning and end of life.  14  Faith is the beginning; the end is love. Being in unity, these two are of God: all other things in a holy life are merely results of them.  15  No man who possesses a true faith, sins; nor does one who possesses love, hate.

   16  The tree is manifest by its fruit, just as those who profess to be Christians are manifest by their works.  17  For Christianity is not the work of an outward profession, but is revealed by the power of faith: if a man remains faithful to the end.  18  It is better for a man to hold his peace, and be; than to say he is a Christian, and not to be.  19  It is good to teach; if he who teaches does as he teaches.  20  That is why there is one Master who spoke, and it was done; but even the things he did in silence, were worthy of the Father.  21  He that possesses the Word of Jesus is truly able to hear His very silence, enabling him to be perfected: seen by what he declares; and known by his silence.

   22  Nothing is hidden from God, even our secrets are close to him.  23  Therefore, let us behave as those having Him dwelling within us; that we may be His temples, and He may be our God: just as He is our God, manifesting Himself before our faces, by those things which cause us to justly love Him.

Chapter 4  
MY brothers, do not be deceived: those that corrupt families by adultery, will not inherit the Kingdom of God.  2  Understanding how those who commit this sin of the flesh have suffered death; how much more will he suffer and die, who by his wicked doctrine corrupts the Faith of God, for which Christ was crucified?  3  One who has defiled himself in this way, will depart into unquenchable fire, along with he that listens to him.
 
    4  For this reason the Lord allowed the Oil of the Cup to be poured out upon His head:
that He could breathe the breath of immortality into His Church.  5  Therefore, do not be anointed with that evil savor, which is the doctrine of the Prince of this world. Do not allow him to take you as a captive, away from the Life that is set before you.
 
    6  Why are we not the wiser, seeing that we have received the knowledge of God, which is in Jesus Christ? Why do we allow ourselves to be foolishly destroyed; not considering the Gift that the Lord has truly sent us?  7  Let my life be sacrificed for the doctrine of the Cross; indeed for that Cross which is scandalous to unbelievers, but is to us salvation and eternal life.

   8  Who is wise? Where is the disputer? Where is the boasting of those claiming to be wise?  9  For our God Jesus Christ, according to the plan of God, was conceived in Mary's womb: of the seed of David, by the Holy Spirit. Then He was born and baptized, that through His Passion He would purify water: that it may wash away sin.  10  Now the virginity of Mary and He who would be born of her was kept secret from the Prince of
this world, as was our Lord's death: three of the most talked about mysteries in the world, yet done by God in secret.  11  And how was our Savior proclaimed to the world? A star shone in the heavens brighter than any other, its light indescribable, and its unusual splendor struck terror into the minds of men. Together with the sun and moon, all other stars were but a chorus to this star: for the light that radiated from this new star exceeded them all by far.  12  In chaos, men began to wonder where this new star, so unlike all the others, had come from.  13  Consequently, all the power of evil# dissolved; the bondage of wickedness was destroyed; the ignorance of man was removed; the old kingdom was abolished, for God Himself was manifesting Himself as a Man-- to renew eternal life. 14  From that time on, God began to accomplish that which He had prepared; from then on things were disturbed: He had designed a plan to abolish death.

   15  If Jesus Christ shall give me grace through your prayer, and if it is His will, I would like in a second letter (which I would quickly write to you-- if I am not martyred), to explain in greater detail the things which I have just mentioned: the New Man, Jesus Christ, and the faith and love that He demonstrated in His suffering and resurrection. 16  Even more so would I desire to write, if the Lord reveals that all of you come together in one Name, in one common Faith, in the One Jesus Christ-- who, according to the flesh, was of David's race; the Son of Man, and the Son of God-- obeying your bishop and the presbytery with one mind; breaking bread together, which is the medicine of immortality; our antidote that we should never die, living forever in Christ Jesus.

   17  My soul is yours; it also belongs to those whom, for the glory of God, you have sent to Smyrna -- which is where I am writing this letter, give thanks to the Lord and love Polycarp just as I love you.

   Remember me, as Jesus Christ indeed remembers you.  18  Pray for the Church of Syria, because from there they will take me to Rome; I am the least of all the faithful who are there, but I have been found worthy of God's Glory.

   19  Farewell in God the Father and in Jesus Christ, our common Hope. 
       
    Amen.