Today is the day when the church remembers Polycarp of Smyrna (70 – 155).
Polycarp was arrested by Roman officials after having served as Bishop of Smyrna for many decades. When the Roman proconsul ordered him to declare that “Caesar is Lord” and to curse Christ, the elderly Polycarp refused, saying, “Eighty-six years I have served him and he never did me any wrong. How can I blaspheme my King who saved me?” Polycarp was sentenced to death by fire, but the flames miraculously stood like a wall around him and he was not burned. The executioner then stabbed him in the heart, which issued such an abundance of blood that the fire was quenched.