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Polycarp, Saint
(492 words)

[German Version]

(Polycarp of Smyrna; c. 70–156 or 167 ce), “apostolic teacher and prophetic bishop” (Mart. Pol. 16.2) as well as a martyr (II; Acts of the Martyrs) was the leading figure in the church of Asia Minor in the 2nd century (Mart. Pol. 12.2). He received a letter (Ign. Pol.) from Ignatius (Ign. Magn. 15), disseminated the Ignatian Epistles, and in the battle against Docetism (I; cf. Ign. Smryn. 4.2; 5.2) and heresy (II, 2; Marcion) emphasized the apostles as bearers of the church’s teaching – including Paul, whom the heretics claimed for themselves. Irenaeus of Lyon (Haer. III 3.…

Cite this page
Buschmann, Gerd, “Polycarp, Saint”, in: Religion Past and Present. Consulted online on 10 August 2022 <>
First published online: 2011
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004146662, 2006-2013

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