Ignatius of Antioch by Candida R. Moss


Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch at the end of the first century and perhaps the beginning of the second century too. He was, according to early Christian tradition, apparently a disciple of the evangelist John. There are some later traditions that say that he was even installed as Bishop by Peter himself in Antioch when Peter was evangelizing in Antioch. And, another tradition still, says that when Ignatius was a child, he had met Jesus himself.

He’s important in Christian tradition because he’s one of the apostolic fathers. He’s sort of a bridge between the events of the New Testament and the early church. He’s best known as a martyr because he was sentenced to die and as he traveled from Antioch to Rome, he wrote a series of letters to individuals and churches in Asia Minor and also to Rome giving them instructions.

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Now these instructions are really significant for our understanding of early Christianity because they provide some of our earliest evidence for church hierarchy and organization. How are bishops, presbyters, other individuals in Christian communities going to organize themselves in this period after the deaths of the apostles? What is liturgy going to look like? Can you hold a Christian meal with just two or three people or do you need a Bishop present? How will we run baptisms? He’s also, perhaps, most famously known as a very enthusiastic martyr.


Candida R. Moss

Candida R. Moss
Professor, University of Notre Dame

Candida R. Moss is a professor in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of Ancient Christian Martyrdom (Yale, 2012) and co-edited (with Jeremy Schipper) Disability Studies and Biblical Literature (Macmillan 2012). She consults for and appears in numerous documentaries focused on early Christian history.

A first-century C.E. apostolic father traditionally understood to have been martyred and to whom a corpus of letters is attributed.

A term from late Antiquity, it refers to the western-most part of Asia, bordered by the Black, the Mediterranean, and Agean Seas, in what is now modern-day Turkey.

A categorization in which people (or other objects) are ranked relative to each other, some higher and some lower.

The standardized collection of practices—ceremonies, readings, rituals, songs, and so forth—related to worship in a religious tradition.

A collection of first-century Jewish and early Christian writings that, along with the Old Testament, makes up the Christian Bible.

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