The Death of Polycarp

Although not an official AUR holiday, today we honor St. Polycarp, who was martyred at the age of 86 or older on February 23rd at some point in the mid-2nd Century for refusing to light incense to the Roman Emperor.  He was first set on fire, then stabbed to death.

Polycarp is important to Reform Unitarianism as he was disciple to St. John, and transmitted John’s teaching to his own disciple, St. Irenaeus.  Connecting Irenaeus with the John the Apostle lends great credence to his description of the Son and Spirit as “the hands of God,” God here being the Father.  This is significant to Unitarian Christianity as it establishes the subordinate relationship between God the Father and His Son and Spirit.

Polycarp himself left us writing only in the form of a letter which consists largely of scriptural quotes, but his courage under persecution and tutelary legacy nevertheless make him a key character in the story of Taproot Christianity.