Saints and Holy People

Find out about their lives and how they changed the world

Saint Polycarp (69–155)

Saint Polycarp (69–155)

Patron saint against dysentery and earache

Feast day: February 23

Saint Polycarp was a friend, convert, and disciple of Saint John the Apostle. He was also a prominent Christian leader in the first half of the second century. Because of Polycarp’s level head and leadership skills, he was chosen by the churches in Asia Minor to travel to Rome and meet with Pope Anicetus to end the controversy over the date of Easter. Even after lengthy discussions, Polycarp and Anicetus could not come to a mutual agreement on the date. However, they did agree to abide by their area’s local traditions, finding no differences between their Christian beliefs.

When Polycarp was 86 years old, crowds at the stadium in Smyrna cried out for his demise. It was arranged that he be burned alive. However, the flames did not harm him and he was eventually killed by a dagger. The written records of Polycarp’s martyrdom are the earliest and most reliable account of a Christian martyr’s death. 

(Image in public domain-70)