Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that is beloved by God the
Father of Jesus Christ; to the holy church which is in Tralles of Asia,
elect and worthy of God, having peace in flesh and spirit through the
passion of Jesus Christ, who is our hope through our resurrection unto
Him; which church also I salute in the Divine plenitude after the
apostolic fashion, and I wish her abundant greeting. 

   I have learned that ye have a mind unblamable and steadfast in
patience, not from habit, but by nature, according as Polybius your
bishop informed me, who by the will of God and of Jesus Christ visited
me in Smyrna; and so greatly did he rejoice with me in my bonds in
Christ Jesus, that in him I beheld the whole multitude of you. Having
therefore received your godly benevolence at his hands, I gave glory,
forasmuch as I had found you to be imitators of God, even as I had

   For when ye are obedient to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, it is
evident to me that ye are living not after men but after Jesus Christ,
who died for us, that believing on His death ye might escape death. It
is therefore necessary, even as your wont is, that ye should do nothing
without the bishop; but be ye obedient also to the presbytery, as to
the Apostles of Jesus Christ our hope; for if we live in Him, we shall
also be found in Him. And those likewise who are deacons of the
mysteries of Jesus Christ must please all men in all ways. For they are
not deacons of meats and drinks but servants of the Church of God. It
is right therefore that they should beware of blame as of fire. 

   In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even
as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and the
presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles. Apart
from these there is not even the name of a church. And I am persuaded
that ye are so minded as touching these matters: for I received the
ensample of your love, and I have it with me, in the person of your
bishop, whose very demeanor is a great lesson, while his gentleness is
power--a man to whom I think even the godless pay reverence. Seeing
that I love you I thus spare you, though I might write more sharply on
his behalf: but I did not think myself competent for this, that being a
convict I should order you as though I were an Apostle. 

   I have many deep thoughts in God: but I take the measure of myself,
lest I perish in my boasting. For now I ought to be the more afraid and
not to give heed to those that would puff me up: for they that say
these things to me are a scourge to me. For though I desire to suffer,
yet I know not whether I am worthy: for the envy of the devil is unseen
indeed by many, but against me it wages the fiercer war. So then I
crave gentleness, whereby the prince of this world is brought to

    Am I not able to write to you of heavenly things? But I fear lest I
should cause you harm being babes. So bear with me, lest not being able
to take them in, ye should be choked. For I myself also, albeit I am in
bonds and can comprehend heavenly things and the arrays of the angels
and the musterings of the principalities, things visible and things
invisible---I myself am not yet by reason of this a disciple. For we
lack many things, that God may not be lacking to us. 

   I exhort you therefore-yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ-take
ye only Christian food, and abstain from strange herbage, which is
heresy: for these men do even mingle poison with Jesus Christ, imposing
upon others by a show of honesty, like persons administering a deadly
drug with honeyed wine, so that one who knoweth it not, fearing
nothing, drinketh in death with a baneful delight. 

   Be ye therefore on your guard against such men. And this will surely
be, if ye be not puffed up and if ye be inseparable from [God] Jesus
Christ and from the bishop and from the ordinances of the Apostles. He
that is within the sanctuary is clean; but he that is without the
sanctuary is not clean, that is, he that doeth aught without the bishop
and presbytery and deacons, this man is not clean in his conscience. 

   Not indeed that I have known of any such thing among you, but I keep
watch over you betimes, as my beloved, for I foresee the snares of the
devil. Do ye therefore arm yourselves with gentleness and recover
yourselves in faith which is the flesh of the Lord, and in love which
is the blood of Jesus Christ. Let none of you bear a grudge against his
neighbor. Give no occasion to the Gentiles, lest by reason of a few
foolish men the godly multitude be blasphemed: for Woe unto him through
whom My name is vainly blasphemed before some. 

   Be ye deaf therefore, when any man speaketh to you apart from Jesus
Christ, who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who was
truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius
Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven
and those on earth and those under the earth; who moreover was truly
raised from the dead, His Father having raised Him, who in the like
fashion will so raise us also who believe on Him--His Father, I say,
will raise us--in Christ Jesus, apart from whom we have not true life.

   But if it were as certain persons who are godless, that is
unbelievers, say, that He suffered only in semblance, being themselves
mere semblance, why am I in bonds? And why also do I desire to fight
with wild beasts? So I die in vain. Truly then I lie against the Lord.

   Shun ye therefore those vile offshoots that gender a deadly fruit,
whereof if a man taste, forthwith he dieth. For these men are not the
Father's planting: for if they had been, they would have been seen to
be branches of the Cross, and their fruit imperishable--the Cross
whereby He through His passion inviteth us, being His members. Now it
cannot be that a head should be found without members, seeing that God
promiseth union, and this union is Himself 

   I salute you from Smyrna, together with the churches of God that are
present with me; men who refreshed me in all ways both in flesh and in
spirit. My bonds exhort you, which for Jesus Christ's sake I bear
about, entreating that I may attain unto God; abide ye in your concord
and in prayer one with another. For it becometh you severally, and more
especially the presbyters, to cheer the soul of your bishop unto the
honor of the Father [and to the honor] of Jesus Christ and of the
Apostles. I pray that ye may hearken unto me in love, lest I be for a
testimony against you by having so written. And pray ye also for me who
have need of your love in the mercy of God, that I may be vouchsafed
the lot which I am eager to attain, to the end that I be not found

   The love of the Smyrnaens and Ephesians saluteth you. Remember in
your prayers the church which is in Syria; whereof [also] I am not
worthy to be called a member, being the very last of them. Fare ye well
in Jesus Christ, submitting yourselves to the bishop as to the
commandment, and likewise also to the presbytery; and each of you
severally love one another with undivided heart. My spirit is offered
up for you, not only now, but also when I shall attain unto God. For I
am still in peril; but the Father is faithful in Jesus Christ to
fulfill my petition and yours. May we be found unblamable in Him.