Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that hath found mercy in the
bountifulness of the Father Most High and of Jesus Christ His only Son;
to the church that is beloved and enlightened through the will of Him
who willed all things that are, by faith and love towards Jesus Christ
our God; even unto her that hath the presidency in the country of the
region of the Romans, being worthy of God, worthy of honor, worthy of
felicitation, worthy of praise, worthy of success, worthy in purity,
and having the presidency of love, walking in the law of Christ and
bearing the Father's name; which church also I salute in the name of
Jesus Christ the Son of the Father; unto them that in flesh and spirit
are united unto His every commandment, being filled with the grace of
God without wavering, and filtered clear from every foreign stain;
abundant greeting in Jesus Christ our God in blamelessness. 

   Forasmuch as in answer to my prayer to God it hath been granted me
to see your godly countenances, so that I have obtained even more than
I asked; for wearing bonds in Christ Jesus I hope to salute you, if it
be the Divine will that I should be counted worthy to reach unto the
end; for the beginning verily is well ordered, if so be I shall attain
unto the goal, that I may receive mine inheritance without hindrance.
For I dread your very love, lest it do me an injury; for it is easy for
you to do what ye will, but for me it is difficult to attain unto God,
unless ye shall spare me. 

   For I would not have you to be men-pleasers but to please God, as
indeed ye do please Him. For neither shall I myself ever find an
opportunity such as this to attain unto God, nor can ye, if ye be
silent, win the credit of any nobler work. For, if ye be silent and
leave me alone, I am a word of God; but if ye desire my flesh, then
shall I be again a mere cry. Nay grant me nothing more than that I be
poured out a libation to God, while there is still an altar ready; that
forming yourselves into a chorus in love ye may sing to the Father in
Jesus Christ, for that God hath vouchsafed that the bishop from Syria
should be found in the West, having summoned him from the East. It is
good to set from the world unto God, that I may rise unto Him. 

   Ye never grudged any one; ye were the instructors of others And my
desire is that those lessons shall hold good which as teachers ye
enjoin. Only pray that I may have power within and without, so that I
may not only say it but also desire it; that I may not only be called a
Christian, but also be found one. For if I shall be found so, then can
I also be called one, and be faithful then, when I am no more visible
to the world. Nothing visible is good. For our God Jesus Christ, being
in the Father, is the more plainly visible. The Work is not of
persuasiveness, but Christianity is a thing of might, whensoever it is
hated by the world. 

   I write to all the churches, and I bid all men know, that of my own
free will I die for God unless Ye should hinder me. I exhort you, be ye
not an unseasonable kindness to me. Let me be given to the wild beasts,
for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and I am
ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread [of
Christ]. Rather entice the wild beasts, that they may become my
sepulchre and may leave no part of my body behind, so that I may not,
when I am fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one. Then shall I be
truly a disciple of Jesus Christ, when the world shall not so much as
see my body. Supplicate the Lord for me, that through these instruments
I may be found a sacrifice to God. I do not enjoin you, as Peter and
Paul did. They were Apostles, I am a convict; they were free, but I am
a slave to this very hour. Yet if I shall suffer, then am I a freed-man
of Jesus Christ, and I shall rise free in Him. Now I am learning in my
bonds to put away every desire. 

   From Syria even unto Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea,
by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards, even a company of
soldiers, who only wax worse when they are kindly treated. Howbeit
through their wrong doings I become more completely a disciple; yet am
I not hereby justified. May I have joy of the beasts that have been
prepared for me; and I pray that I may find them prompt; nay I will
entice them that they may devour me promptly, not as they have done to
some, refusing to touch them through fear. Yea though of themselves
they should not be willing while I am ready, I myself will force them
to it. Bear with me. I know what is expedient for me. Now am I
beginning to be a disciple. May naught of things visible and things
invisible envy me; that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Come fire and
cross and grapplings with wild beasts, [cuttings and manglings,]
wrenching of bones, hacking of limbs, crushings of my whole body, come
cruel tortures of the devil to assail me. Only be it mine to attain
unto Jesus Christ. 

   The farthest bounds of the universe shall profit me nothing, neither
the kingdoms of this world. It is good for me to die for Jesus Christ
rather than to reign over the farthest bounds of the earth. Him I seek,
who died on our behalf; Him I desire, who rose again [for our sake].
The pangs of a new birth are upon me. Bear with me, brethren. Do not
hinder me from living; do not desire my death. Bestow not on the world
one who desireth to be God's, neither allure him with material things.
Suffer me to receive the pure light. When I am come thither, then shall
I be a man. Permit me to be an imitator of the passion of my God. If
any man hath Him within himself, let him understand what I desire, and
let him have fellow-feeling with me, for he knoweth the things which
straiten me. 

   The prince of this world would fain tear me in pieces and corrupt my
mind to Godward. Let not any of you therefore who are near abet him.
Rather stand ye on my side, that is on God's side. Speak not of Jesus
Christ and withal desire the world. Let not envy have a home in you.
Even though I myself, when I am with you, should beseech you, obey me
not; but rather give credence to these things which I write to you.
[For] I write to you in the midst of life, yet lusting after death. My
lust hath been crucified, and there is no fire of material longing in
me, but only water living and speaking in me, saying within me, Come to
the Father. I have no delight in the food of corruption or in the
delights of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of
Christ who was of the seed of David; and for a draught I desire His
blood, which is love incorruptible. 

   I desire no longer to live after the manner of men; and this shall
be, if ye desire it. Desire ye, that ye yourselves also may be desired.
In a brief letter I beseech you; believe me. And Jesus Christ shall
make manifest unto you these things, that I speak the truth--Jesus
Christ, the unerring mouth in whom the Father hath spoken [truly].
Entreat ye for me, that I may attain [through the Holy Spirit]. I write
not unto you after the flesh, but after the mind of God. If I shall
suffer, it was your desire; if I shall be rejected, it was your hatred.

   Remember in your prayers the church which is in Syria, which hath
God for its shepherd in my stead. Jesus Christ alone shall be its
bishop-He and your love. But for myself I am ashamed to be called one
of them; for neither am I worthy, being the very last of them and an
untimely birth: but I have found mercy that I should be some one, if so
be I shall attain unto God. My spirit saluteth you, and the love of the
churches which received me in the name of Jesus Christ, not as a mere
wayfarer; for even those churches which did not lie on my route after
the flesh went before me from city to city. Now I write these things to
you from Smyrna by the hand of the Ephesians who are worthy of all
felicitation. And Crocus also, a name very dear to me, is with me, with
many others besides. 

   As touching those who went before me from Syria to Rome unto the
glory of God, I believe that ye have received instructions; whom also
apprise that I am near; for they all are worthy of God and of you, and
it becometh you to refresh them in all things. These things I write to
you on the ninth before the Calends of September. Fare ye well unto the
end in the patient waiting for Jesus Christ.