Polycarp, Saint pŏl´ĭkärp [key], c.AD 70–AD 156?, Greek bishop of Smyrna, Father of the Church. He was a disciple of St. John, who appointed him bishop. Thus he linked the apostles and such 2d-century Christian expositors as St. Irenaeus. St. Polycarp was a close friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch. As a very old man, Polycarp went to Rome to discuss the problem of dating Easter. He died a martyr in Smyrna. His one surviving work, the Epistle to the Philippians, has been the subject of controversy. Some scholars have maintained that the letter is really two—one written c.115, enclosing St. Ignatius' epistles, and the other written c.135 to warn the Philippians against the teachings of Marcion. He was in his time the mainstay of Christianity in Asia Minor. Feast: Jan. 26.
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