Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the church of God the Father and
of Jesus Christ the Beloved, which hath been mercifully endowed with
every grace, being filled with faith and love and lacking in no grace,
most reverend and bearing holy treasures; to the church which is in
Smyrna of Asia, in a blameless spirit and in the word of God abundant

    I give glory to Jesus Christ the God who bestowed such wisdom upon
you; for I have perceived that ye are established in faith immovable,
being as it were nailed on the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, in flesh
and in spirit, and firmly grounded in love in the blood of Christ,
fully persuaded as touching our Lord that He is truly of the race of
David according to the flesh, but Son of God by the Divine will and
power, truly born of a virgin and baptized by John that all
righteousness might be fulfilled by Him, truly nailed up in the flesh
for our sakes under Pontius Pilate and Herod the tetrarch (of which
fruit are we--that is, of His most blessed passion); that He might set
up an ensign unto all the ages through His resurrection, for His saints
and faithful people, whether among Jews or among Gentiles, in one body
of His Church. 

    For He suffered all these things for our sakes [that we might be
salved]; and He suffered truly, as also He raised Himself truly; not as
certain unbelievers say, that He suffered in semblance, being
themselves mere semblance. And according as their opinions are, so
shall it happen to them, for they are without body and demon-like. 

    For I know and believe that He was in the flesh even after the
resurrection; and when He came to Peter and his company, He said to
them, Lay hold and handle me, and see that I am not a demon without a
body. And straightway they touched Him, and they believed, being joined
unto His flesh and His blood. Wherefore also they despised death, nay
they were found superior to death. And after His resurrection He [both
ate with them and drank with them as one in the flesh, though
spiritually He was united with the Father. 

    But these things I warn you, dearly beloved, knowing that ye
yourselves are so minded. Howbeit I watch over you betimes to protect
you from wild beasts in human form--men whom not only should ye not
receive, but, if it were possible, not so much as meet [them]; only
pray ye for them, if haply they may repent. This indeed is difficult,
but Jesus Christ, our true life, hath power over it. For if these
things were done by our Lord in semblance, then am I also a prisoner in
semblance. And why then have I delivered myself over to death, unto
fire, unto sword, unto wild beasts? But near to the sword, near to God;
in company with wild beasts, in company with God. Only let it be in the
name of Jesus Christ, so that we may suffer together with Him. I endure
all things, seeing that He Himself enableth me, who is perfect Man. 

    But certain persons ignorantly deny Him, or rather have been denied
by Him, being advocates of death rather than of the truth; and they
have not been persuaded by the prophecies nor by the law of Moses, nay
nor even to this very hour by the Gospel, nor by the sufferings of each
of us severally; for they are of the same mind also concerning us. For
what profit is it [to me], if a man praiseth me, but blasphemeth my
Lord, not confessing that He was a bearer of flesh? Yet he that
affirmeth not this, doth thereby deny Him altogether, being himself a
bearer of a corpse. But their names, being unbelievers, I have not
thought fit to record in writing--nay, far be it from me even to
remember them, until they repent and return to the passion, which is
our resurrection. 

    Let no man be deceived. Even the heavenly beings and the glory of
the angels and the rulers visible and invisible, if they believe not in
the blood of Christ [who is God], judgment awaiteth them also. He that
receiveth let him receive. Let not office puff up any man; for faith
and love are all in all, and nothing is preferred before them. But mark
ye those who hold strange doctrine touching the grace of Jesus Christ
which came to us, how that they are contrary to the mind of God. They
have no care for love, none for the widow, none for the orphan, none
for the afflicted, none for the prisoner, none for the hungry or
thirsty. They abstain from eucharist (thanksgiving) and prayer, because
they allow not that the eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus
Christ, which flesh suffered for our sins, and which the Father of His
goodness raised up. 

    They therefore that gainsay the good gift of God perish by their
questionings. But it were expedient for them to have love, that they
may also rise again. It is therefore meet that ye should abstain from
such, and not speak of them either privately or in public; but should
give heed to the Prophets, and especially to the Gospel, wherein the
passion is shown unto us and the resurrection is accomplished. 

    [But] shun divisions, as the beginning of evils. Do ye all follow
your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as
the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment.
Let no man do aught of things pertaining to the Church apart from the
bishop. Let that be held a valid eucharist which is under the bishop or
one to whom he shall have committed it. Wheresoever the bishop shall
appear, there let the people be; even as where Jesus may be, there is
the universal Church. It is not lawful apart from the bishop either to
baptize or to hold a love-feast; but whatsoever he shall approve, this
is well-pleasing also to God; that everything which ye do may be sure
and valid. 

    It is reasonable henceforth that we wake to soberness, while we
have [still] time to repent and turn to God. It is good to recognize
God and the bishop. He that honoreth the bishop is honored of God; he
that doeth aught without the knowledge of the bishop rendereth service
to the devil. May all things therefore abound unto you in grace, for ye
are worthy. Ye refreshed me in all things, and Jesus Christ shall
refresh you. In my absence and in my presence ye cherished me. May God
recompense you; for whose sake if ye endure all things, ye shall attain
unto Him. 

    Philo and Rhaius Agathopus, who followed me in the cause of God, ye
did well to receive as ministers of [Christ] God; who also give thanks
to the Lord for you, because ye refreshed them in every way. Nothing
shall be lost to you. My spirit is devoted for you, as also are my
bonds, which ye despised not, neither were ashamed of them. Nor shall
He, who is perfect faithfulness, be ashamed of you, even Jesus Christ.

    Your prayer sped forth unto the church which is in Antioch of
Syria; whence coming a prisoner in most godly bonds I salute all men,
though I am not worthy to belong to it, being the very last of them. By
the Divine will was this vouchsafed to me, not of my own complicity,
but by God's grace, which I pray may be given to me perfectly, that
through your prayers I may attain unto God. Therefore that your work
may be perfected both on earth and in heaven, it is meet that your
church should appoint, for the honor of God, an ambassador of God that
he may go as far as Syria and congratulate them because they are at
peace, and have recovered their proper stature, and their proper bulk
hath been restored to them. It seemed to me therefore a fitting thing
that ye should send one of your own people with a letter, that he might
join with them in giving glory for the calm which by God's will had
overtaken them, and because they were already reaching a haven through
your prayers. Seeing ye are perfect, let your counsels also be perfect;
for if ye desire to do well, God is ready to grant the means. The love
of the brethren which are in Troas saluteth you; from whence also I
write to you by the hand of Burrhus, whom ye sent with me jointly with
the Ephesians your brethren. He hath refreshed me in all ways. And I
would that all imitated him, for he is an ensample of the ministry of
God. The Divine grace shall requite him in all things. I salute your
godly bishop and your venerable presbytery [and] my fellow-servants the
deacons, and all of you severally and in a body, in the name of Jesus
Christ, and in His flesh and blood, in His passion and resurrection,
which was both carnal and spiritual, in the unity of God and of
yourselves. Grace to you, mercy, peace, patience, always. 

    I salute the households of my brethren with their wives and
children, and the virgins who are called widows. I bid you farewell in
the power of the Father. Philo, who is with me, saluteth you. I salute
the household of Tavia, and I pray that she may be grounded in faith
and love both of flesh and of spirit. I salute Alce, a name very dear
to me, and Daphnus the incomparable, and Eutecnus, and all by name.
Fare ye well in the grace of God.