Oil dedicated to martyr St Polycarp on prayer cloth
Martyr St Polycarp was born around the year 69 AD.
Growing up among the Greek-speaking Christians of the Roman Empire Polycarp received the teachings and recollections of individuals. Who had seen and known Jesus during his earthly life. This important connection between Jesus’ first disciples and apostles and their respective students. Served to protect the Catholic Church against the influence of heresy during its earliest days. Particularly against early attempts to deny Jesus’ bodily incarnation and full humanity.
Around the year 155 Polycarp became aware that government authorities were on the lookout for him. Seeking to stamp out the Catholic Church’s claim of obeying a higher authority than the Emperor. He retreated to a country house and occupied himself with constant prayer. Before receiving a vision of his death that prompted him to inform his friends: “I must be burned alive.” He changed locations but was betrayed by a young man who knew his whereabouts and confessed under torture.
He was captured on a Saturday evening by two public officials who urged him to submit to the state demands.
Because of Polycarp’s lack of fear the proconsul told him he would be burned alive. But Polycarp knew that the fire that burned for an hour was better than eternal fire.
When he was tied up to be burned Polycarp prayed. The fire was lit as Polycarp said Amen and then the eyewitnesses who reported said they saw a miracle. The fire burst up in an arch around Polycarp. The flames surrounding him like sails, and instead of being burned he seemed to glow like bread baking, or gold being melted in a furnace. When the captors saw he wasn’t being burned, they stabbed him. The blood that flowed put the fire out.