St. Ignatius on the Eucharist (1)

Epistle to the Ephesians (chap. XX) 

If Jesus Christ shall graciously permit me through your prayers, and if it be His will, I shall, in a second little work which I will write to you, make further manifest to you [the nature of] the dispensation of which I have begun [to treat], with respect to the new man, Jesus Christ, in His faith and in His love, in His suffering and in His resurrection. Especially [will I do this ] if the Lord make known to me that ye come together man by man in common through grace, individually, in one faith, and in Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David according to the flesh, being both the Son of man and the Son of God, so that ye obey the bishop and the presbytery with an undivided mind, breaking one and the same bread, which is the medicine of immortality, and the antidote to prevent us from dying, but [which causes] that we should live for ever in Jesus Christ.



  1. I would highly recommend that when reading the Apostolic Fathers that you use an edition such as, “The Loeb Classical Library, Apostolic Fathers vols I & II,” published by Harvard University Press. The original greek is presented on the facing page with the Kirsopp Lake English translation on the reading page. Critical notes and Scriptural notations are presented on each page. You will see how absolutely filled with Scripture each page is when reading these works. The historical and textual introductions are helpful as well.

  2. Thanks, Gil:

    Right now, I’m just reading what I have, but that’s definitely something to put on the Amazon wish list! I think some texts are also available on the Christian Classics Etherial Library. I’ll try to link to those as I go through them.

  3. I’ve been reading these same folks as part of the “Church Fathers Lenten Reading Plan”. Here’s what I consider Ignatius’ Greatest Hits. I didn’t list much about bishops or presbyters, because doing so would simply involve reprinting most of what Ignatius wrote…

  4. Re: Gil’s comment: the Loeb edition has been redone with Bart Ehrman as translator. The translations are very well-done (regardless of Bart’s personal beliefs).

  5. Why don’t you share your thoughts as you read this with us?

    What do you think about the reference to bishops, for instance? I know some protestants translate episcopoi as “overseer” and thereby make the text sound less Catholic (or Othodox.)

    What about hearing the Eucharist called the “medicine of immortality’ and the cause of our living forever in Jesus Christ? How does your tradition view the Eucharist? Would someone in your tradition write these words?

    I feel as if I am writing those insufferable questions which one finds in anthologies used as textbooks in high school English! I apologize. I just wanted to get you to share your thoughts.

    Susan Peterson

  6. This was my first visit here and I started at the top. I see that at least the bishop issue is discused quite a bit earlier.

    Susan Peterson

  7. Hi, Susan:

    I wish I had time to write all my thoughts on what I’m reading in the Church Fathers. Unfortunately, I’m trying to write a dissertation as well as raise a family!!! Right now, I’m using this space as a place to store significant pieces of information along the way. I’ve been very thankful for all the replies so far. I’ve learned a ton! Part of my problem is I don’t have too many folks around to discuss these things with. Although blogging is gnostic, and should never replace the catholicity of Christians in time and space, it has been helpful to get others’ reactions to what I post. There are so many people out there who are further down the road, and I’m thankful their comments.

  8. A diss? Write me and we’ll commiserate — maximusconfessor[at]gmail[dot]com. I finished mine a couple years ago. Hang in there!

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