Sunday, February 23, 2020

07 Works, Today, February 23rd, is Saint Hieromartyr Polycarp's Day, With Footnotes - 53

Hieromartyr Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna

Hieromartyr Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (167) was born at Ephesus around the year 70. St Irenaeus of Lyons, his disciple, says that St Polycarp was 'a disciple of the Apostles and acquainted with those who had seen the Lord.' His parents died as martyrs, and he was given into the care of a devout lady named Callista. As a child, the Saint was so eager to follow the commandments of Christ that he repeatedly emptied his foster-mother's pantry to feed the poor. Since her supplies were always miraculously renewed, Callista changed his name from Pancratius to Polykarpos, meaning 'Much fruit.'

When grown, Polycarp became a disciple of St John the Theologian, and in time became Bishop of Smyrna; it is told that the messages to the Church at Smyrna in the Book of Revelation are addressed to St Polycarp and his flock. He knew St Ignatius of Antioch personally, and some of their correspondence is preserved.

 St. Polycarp of Smyrna

Polycarp led his Church in holiness for more than fifty years, and became known throughout the Christian world as a true shepherd and standard-bearer of the Faith. About the year 154 he traveled to Rome and consulted with Pope Anacletus on the defense of the Faith.

Not long after he returned to Smyrna, a fierce persecution was unleashed against Christians in Asia Minor; along with many others, St Polycarp was arrested, having predicted his imminent martyrdom. 

On the evening of Holy Friday, soldiers burst into the farmhouse where he was staying. The Bishop welcomed them cheerfully, and ordered that a meal be prepared for them. He was granted some time to pray, and for two hours stood commemorating everyone that he had known and praying for the Church throughout the world. His captors sorrowed that they had come to take such a venerable man, and reluctantly took him to the Proconsul. When urged to deny Christ and save his life, the aged Saint replied, 'For eighty-six years I have been his servant, and he has wronged me in nothing; how can I blaspheme my King and Savior?' Told that he would die by fire if he did not apostatize, Polycarp replied 'You threaten me with a fire that burns for a short time and then goes out, while you know nothing of the fire of the judgment to come and of the everlasting torment awaiting the wicked. Why wait any longer? Do what you will!'

Niccolo Circignani (Il Pomarancio), 16th century
The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp
Church of Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio, Rome

Niccolò Circignani (c. 1517/1524 – after 1596) was an Italian painter of the late-Renaissance or Mannerist period. He was one of three Italian painters called Pomarancio. His first works are documented from the 1560s, where he painted frescos on the Old Testament stories for the Vatican Belvedere and completed altarpieces for Orvieto, Umbertide, Città di Castello as well as Città della Pieve.

He painted frescoes (starting 1574) on mythologic themes including a Judgement of Paris, Stories from the Aenid, and others, in collaboration with Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi in the Palazzo della Corgna in Castiglione del Lago.

From 1579 he returned to Rome to work with Matthijs Bril and decorated the Sala della Meridiana in the Torre dei Venti as well as in the Loggie in the Vatican. He then became one of the artists favored by the Jesuits. Assisted by Matteo da Siena, he began depicting scenes of Jesuit martyrdom. He was further commissioned such works, depicting church martyrs, with help from Antonio Tempesta for the church of Santo Stefano Rotondo. Here he finally completed over thirty graphic scenes of martyrdom, depicting every gruesome method as if it were an advertisement for a torture chamber. More on Niccolò Circignani

Niccolo Circignani (Il Pomarancio), 16th century
The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp, c. 1583
Basilica of Santo Stefano Rotondo al Celio, Rome

Placed on the pyre, Polycarp lifted his eyes heavenward and gave thanks to God for finding him worthy to share with the holy Martyrs of the cup of Christ. When he had said his Amen, the executioners lit the fire. The eyewitnesses write that the fire sprang up around him like a curtain, and that he stood in its midst glowing like gold and sending forth a delightful scent of incense. Seeing that the fire was not harming him, the executioners stabbed him with a sword. His blood flowed so copiously that it put out the fire, and he gave back his soul to God. His relics were burned by the persecutors, but Christians rescued a few fragments of bone, which were venerated for many generations on the anniversary of his repose. More on Hieromartyr Polycarp

The Martyrdom of Saint Polycarp

After: Niccolò Circignani
Church martyrs, c. 1580-1630
Height: 271 millimetres, Width: 172 millimetres
Trustees of the British Museum

Church martyrs, with in the foreground St Polycarp being burned at the stake, and on the left a soldier plunging his sword into the saint's side; in the background, beyond the walls of an arena, the decapitation of St Justin at left, St Corona being torn by trees at centre, and St Victor being burned at the stake at right; after the fresco executed in San Stefano Rotondo by Niccolò Circignani Engraving

Images are copyright of their respective owners, assignees or others. Some Images may be subject to copyright

I don't own any of these images - credit is always given when due unless it is unknown to me. if I post your images without your permission, please tell me.

I do not sell art, art prints, framed posters or reproductions. Ads are shown only to compensate the hosting expenses.

If you enjoyed this post, please share with friends and family.

Thank you for visiting my blog and also for liking its posts and pages.

Please note that the content of this post primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.