THE Epistle of Polycarp was written in reply to a communication from the Philippians. They had invited him to address words of exhortation to them (§ 3); they had requested him to forward by his own messenger the letter which they had addressed to the Syrian Church (§ 13); and they had asked him to send them any epistles of Ignatius which he might have in his hands (ib.).

This epistle is intimately connected with the letters and martyrdom of Ignatius himself. The Philippians had recently welcomed and escorted on their way certain saints who were in bonds (§ 1). From a later notice in the epistle it appears that Ignatius was one of these (§ 9) Two others besides are mentioned by name, Zosimus and Rufus (ib.). A not improbable conjecture makes these persons Bithynian Christians who had been sent by Pliny to Rome to be tried there and had joined Ignatius at Philippi. In this case they would be placed under the same escort with Ignatius, and proceed with him to Rome in the custody of the ‘ten leopards’ (Ign. Rom. 5). It is clear that Ignatius—probably by word of mouth—had given to the Philippians the same injunction which he gave to the churches generally (Philad. 10, Smyrn. 11, Polyc. 7), that they should send letters, and (where possible) representatives also, to congratulate the Church of Antioch on the restoration of peace. Hence the request of the Philippians, seconded by Ignatius himself, that Polycarp would forward their letter to Syria. It is plain likewise, that they had heard, either from Ignatius himself or from those about him, of the epistles which he had addressed to the Churches of Asia Minor, more especially to Smyrna. Hence their further petition that Polycarp would send them such of these letters as were in his possession. The visit of Ignatius had been recent—so recent indeed, that Polycarp, though he assumes that saint has suffered martyrdom, is yet without any certain knowledge of the fact. He therefore asks the Philippians, who are some stages nearer to Rome than Smyrna, to communicate to him any information which they may have received respecting the saint and his companions (§ 13).

Beyond these references to Ignatius there is not much of personal matter in the letter. Polycarp refers to S. Paul's communications with the Philippians, both written and oral (§§ 3, 11). He mentions the fame of the Philippian Church in the primitive days of the Gospel, and he congratulates them on sustaining their early reputation (§§ 1, 11). Incidentally he states that the Philippians were converted to the Gospel before the Smyrnæans (§ 11)—a statement which entirely accords the notices of the two churches in the New Testament.

The fair fame of the Philippian Church however had been sullied by the sin of one unworthy couple. Valens and his wife—the Ananias and Sapphira of the Philippian community—had been guilty of some act of greed, perhaps of fraud and dishonesty. Valens was one of presbyters, and thus the church was more directly responsible for his crime. Polycarp expresses himself much grieved. Though the incident itself is only mentioned in one passage, it has plainly made a impression on him. The sin of avarice is denounced again andagain in the body of the letter (§§ 2, 4, 6, 11).

The letter is sent by the hand of one Crescens. The sister of Crescens also, who purposes visiting Philippi, is commended to them (§ 14).

The authorities for the text are as follows.

(1) GREEK MANUSCRIPTS (G). These are nine in number (Vaticanus 859 [v], 0ttobonianus 348 [o], Florentinus Laur. vii. 21 [f], Parisiensis Graec. 937 [p], Casanatensis G. V. 14 [c], Theatinus [t], Neapolitanus Mus. Nat. II. A. 17 [n], Salmasianus [s], Andrius [a]), and all belong to the same family, as appears from the fact that the Epistle of Polycarp runs on continuously into the Epistle of Barnabas without any break, the mutilated ending of Polycarp § 9 avpoqano,nta kai. diV h`ma/j u`po. being followed by the mutilated beginning of Barnabas § 5 to.n lao.n to.n kaino.n k)t)l) Within this family however the MSS fall into two subdivisions: (1) vopf all MSS in which the Epistle of Polycarp is attached to the pseudo-Ignatian letters; and (2) ctna (to which we may probably add s), where it stands alone. In the first subdivision, opf have no independent authority, being derived directly or indirectly from v. Of the two subdivisions the former is slightly superior to the latter.

(2) LATIN VERSION (L). In the earlier part of the epistle this version is sometimes useful for correcting the text of the extant Greek MSS; for, though very paraphrastic, it was made from an older form of the Greek than these. But the two are closely allied, as appears from the fact that this version is always found in connexion with the Latin of the pseudo-Ignatian letters and seems to have been translated from the same volume which contained them. For the latter part of the epistle, from § 10 onward, it is the sole authority; with the exception of portions of § 12, which are preserved in Syriac in passages of Timotheus and Severus or elsewhere, and nearly the whole of § 13, which is given by Eusebius in his Ecclesiastical History. The MSS of which collations have been made for this part either by myself or by others are nine in number (Reginensis 81 [r], Trecensis 412 [t], Pansiensis 1639, formerly Colbertinus 1039 [c], Bruxellensis 5510 [b], Oxon. Balliolensis 229 [o], Palatinus 150 [p], Florentinus Laur. xxiii. 20 [f], Vindobonensis 1068 [v], Oxon. Magdalenensis 78 [m]).

It will have been seen that, so far as regards the Greek and Latin MSS, the Epistle of Polycarp is closely connected with the Long Recension of the Ignatian Epistles. This fact, if it had stood by itself, would have thrown some discredit on the integrity of the text. It might have been suspected that the same hand which interpolated the Ignatian Epistles had tampered with this also. But the internal evidence, and especially the allusiveness of the references to the Ignatian Epistles, is decisive in favour of its genuineness. As regards external evidence, not only does Irenæus, a pupil of Polycarp, allude to ‘the very adequate epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians,’ but the quotations of Eusebius, Timotheus, and Severus, with the other Syriac fragments, are a highly important testimony. They show that, wherever we have opportunity of testing the text of the Greek and Latin copies, its general integrity is vindicated.


POLOUKARPOS kai. oi` su.n auvtw|/ presbu,teroi th|/ evkklhsi,a| tou/ Qeou/ th|/ paroikou,sh| Fili,ppouj\ e;leoj u`mi/n kai. eivrh,nh para. Qeou/ pantopratoroj kai. VIhsou/ Cristou/ tou/ swth/roj h`mw/n plhqunqei.h)

1.1 Suneca,rhn u`mi/n mega,lwj evn Kuri,w| h`mw/n VIhsou/ Cristw|/( dexame,noij ta. mimh,mata th/j avlhqouj avga,phj kai. prope,myasin( w`j evpe,balen u`mi/n tou.j evilhme,nouj toi/j a`gioprepe,sin desmoi/j( a[tina, evstin diadh,mata tw/n avlhqw/j u`po. Qeou/ kai. tou/ Kuri,ou h`mw/n evklelegme,nwn\

1.2 kai. o[ti h` babai,a th/j pi,stewj u`mw/n r`i,za evx avrcai,wn kataggellome,nh cro,nwn( mecri. nu/n diame,nei kai. karpoforei/ eivj to.n Ku,rion h`mw/n VIhsou/n Cristo,n( o]j u`pe,menein u`pe.r tw/n a`martiw/n h`mw/n e[wj qana,tou katanth/sai o]n h;geiren o` Qeo.j lu,saj ta.j wvdi/naj tou/ a[|dou\

1.3 eivj o]n ouvk ivdo,ntej pisteu,ete cara|/ avneklalh,tw| kai. dedoxasme,nh|eivj h]n polloi. evpiqumou/sin eivselqei/n eivdo,tej o[ti ca,riti, evste seswsme,noi( ouvk evx e;rgwn(avlla. qelh,mati Qeou/ dia. VIhsou/ Cristou/)

2.1 Dio. avnazwsa,menoi ta.j ovsfu,aj douleu,sate tw|/ Qew|/ evn fo,bw| kai. avlhqei,a|( avpolipo,ntej th.n kenh.n mataiologi,an kai. th.n tw/n pollw/n pla,nhn( pisteu,santej eivj to.n evgei,ranta to.n ku,rion h`mw/n VIhsou/n Cristo.n evk nekrw/n kai. do,nta auvtw|/ do,xan kai. qro,non evk dexiw/n auvtou w|- u`peta,ge ta. pa,nta epoura,nia kai. evpi,geia( w|- pa/sa pnoh. latreu,ei( o]j e;rcetai krith.j zw,ntwn kai. nekrw/n( ou- to. ai-ma evkzhth,sei o` Qeo.j avpo. tw/n avpeiqou,ntwn auvtw|/)

2.2 o` de. evgei,raj auvto.n evk nekrw/n kai. h`ma/j evgerei/( eva.n poiw/men auvtou/ to. qe,lhma kai. poreuw,meqa evn tai/j evntolai/j auvtou/ kai. avgapw/men a] hvga,phsen( avpeco,menoi pa,shj avdiki,aj( pleoneci,aj( filarguri,aj(katalalia.j( yeudomarturi,aj\ mh. avpodido,ntej kako.n avnti. kakou/ h' loidori,an avnti. loidori,ajh' gro,nqon avnti. gro,nqou h' kata,ran avnti. kata,raj(

2.3 mnhmoneu,ontej de. w-n ei=pen o` Ku,rioj dida,skwn\ mh. kri,nete( i[na mh. kriqh/te\ avfi,ete( kai. avfeqh,setai u`mi/n\ evlea/te( i[na evlehqh/te\ w|- me,trw| metrei/te( avtimetrhqh,setai u`mi/n\ kai. o[ti maka,rioi oi` ptwcoi. kai. oi` diwko,menoi e[neken dikaiosu,nhj( o[ti auvtw/n evsti.n h` basilei,a tou/ Qeou/)

3.1 Tau.ta( avdelfoi,( ouvk evmautw|/ evpitre,yaj gra,fw u`mi/n peri. th/j dikaiosu,nhj( avllV evpei. u`mei/j proepekale,sasqe, me)

3.2 ou;te ge.r evgw. ou;te a;lloj o[moioj evmoi. du,natai katakalouqh/sai th|/ sofi,a tou/ makari,ou kai. evndo,xou Pau,lou( o]jgeno,menoj evn u`mi/n kata. pro,swpon tw/n to,te avnqrw,pwn evdi,daxen avkribw/j kai. bebai,wj to.n peri. avlhqei,aj lo,gon( o]j kai. avpw.n u`mi/n e;grayen evpistola,j( eivj a]j eva.n evgku,pthte( dunhqh,sesqe oivkodomei/sqai eivj th.n doqei/san u`mi/n pi,stin\

3.3 h[tij evsti.n mh,thr pa,ntwn h`mw/n( evpakolouqou,shj th/j evlpi,doj( proagou,shj th/j eivj Qeo.n kai. Cristo.n kai. eivj to.n plhsi,on) eva.n ga,r tij tou,twn evntoj h|=( peplh,rwken evtolh.n dikaiosu,nhj\ o` ga.r e;cwn avga,phn makra,n evstin pa,shj a`marti,aj)

4.1 Arch. de. pa,ntwn calepw/n filarguri,a) eivdo,tej ou=n o[ti ouvden eivshne,gkamen eivj to.n ko,smon( avllV ouvde. evxenegkei/n ti e;comen( o`plisw,meqa toi/j o[ploij th/j dikaiosu,nhj kai. dida,xwmen e`autou.j prw/ton poreu,esqai evn th|/ evntolh|/ tou/ Kuri,ou\

4.2 e;peita kai. ta.j gunai/kaj u`mw/n evn th|/ doqei,sh| auvtai/j pi,stei kai. avga,ph| kai. a`gnei,a|( stergou,saj tou.j e`autw/n a;ndraj evn pa,sh| avlhqei,a| kai. avgapw,saj pa,ntaj evx i;sou evn pa,sh| evkratei,a|( kai. ta. te,kna paideu,ein th.n paidei,an tou/ fo,bou tou/ Qeou/\

4.3 ta.j ch,raj swfronou,saj peri. th.n tou/ Kuri,ou pi,stin( evntugcanou,saj avdialei,ptwj peri. pa,ntwn( makra.n ou;saj pa,shj diabolh/j( katalalia/j( yeudomarturi,aj( filarguri,aj( kai. panto.j kakou/\ ginwskou,saj o[ti eivsi. qusiasth,rion Qeou/( kai. o[ti pa,nta mwmoskopei/tai( kai. le,lhqen auvto.n ouvde.n ou;te logismw/n ou;te evnnoiw/n( ou;te ti tw/n kruptw/n th/j kardi,aj)

5.1 Eivdotej ou-n o[ti Qeo.j ouv mukthri,zetai( ovfei,lomen avxi,wj th/j evntolh/j auvtou/ kai. do,xhj peripatei/n)

5.2 o`moi,wj dia,konoi a;memptoi katenw.pion auvtou/ th/j dikaiosu,nhj( w`j Qeou/ kai. Cristou/ dia,konoi( kai. ouvk avnqrw,pwn\ mh. dia,boloi( mh. di, logoi( avfila,rguroi( evgkratei/j peri. pa,nta( eu;splagcnoi( evpimelei.j( poreuo,menoi kata. th.n avlh,qeian tou/ Kuri,ou( o]j evge,neto dia,konoj pa,ntwn\ w|- eva.n euvaresth,swmen evn tw|/ nu/n aivw/ni( avpolhyo,meqa kai. to.n me,llonta( kaqw.j u`pe,sceto h`mi/n evgei/rai h`ma/j evk nekrw/n kai. o[ti( eva.n politeusw,meqa avxi,wj auvtou/( kai. sumbasileu,somen auvtw/|( ei;ge pisteu,omen)

5.3 o`moi,wj kai. new,teroi a;memptoi evn pa/sin( pro. panto.j pronoou/ntej a`gnei,aj kai. calinagwgou/ntej e`autou.j avpo. panto.j kakou/) kalo.n ga.r to. avnako,ptesqai avpo. tw/n evpiqumiw/n evn tw|/ ko,smw|( o[ti pa/sa evpiqumi,a kata/ tou/ pneu,matoj strateu,etai( kai. ou;te po,rnoi ou;te malakoi. ou;te avrsenokoi/toi basilei,an Qeou/ klhronomh,sousin( ou;te oi` poiou/ntej ta. a;topa) dio. de,on avpe,cesqai avpo. pa,ntwn tou,twn( u`potassome,nouj toi/j presbute,roij kai. diako,noij w`j Qew/| kai. Cristw|/\ ta.j parqe,nouj evn avmw,mw| kai. a`gnh|/ suneidh,sei peripatei/n)

6.1 Kai. oi` presbu,teroi de. eu;splagcnoi( eivj pa,ntaj evleh,monej( evpistre,fontej ta. evpiskepto,menoi pa,ntaj avsqenei/j( mh. avmelou/ntej ch,raj h' ovrfanou/ h' pe,nhtoj( avlla. pronoou/ntej avei. tou/ kalou/ evnw,pion Qeou/ kai. avnqrw,pwn( avpeco,menoi pa,shj ovrgh/j( proswpolhyi,aj( kri,sewj avdi,kou( makra.n o;ntej pa,shj filarguri,aj( mh. tace,wj pisteu,ontej kata, tinoj( mh. avpo,tomoi evn kri,sei( eivdo,tej o[ti pa,ntej ovfeile,tai evsme.n a`marti,aj)

6.2 eiv ou=n deo,meqa tou/ Kuri,ou i[na h`mi/n avfh|/( ovfei,lomen kai. h`mei/j avfie,nai\ avpe,nanti ga.r tw/n tou/ Kuri,ou kai. Qeou/ evsme.n ovfqalmw/n( kai. pa,ntej dei/ parasth/nai tw/| bh,mati tou/ Crictou/( kai. e[kaston u`pe.r e`autou/ lo,gon dou/nai)

6.3 ou[twj ou=n douleu,swmen auvtw|/ meta. fo,bou kai. pa,shj euvlabei,aj( kaqw.j auvto.j evntei,lato kai. oi` euvaggelisa,menoi h`ma/j avpo,stoloi kai. oi` profh/tai oi` prokhru,xantej th.n e;leusin tou/ Kuri,ou h`mw/n( zhlwtai. peri. to. kalo,n( avpeco,menoi tw/n skanda,lwn kai. tw/n yeudade.lfwn kai. tw/n evn u`pokri,sei fero,ntwn to. o;noma tou/ Kuri,ou( oi[tinej avpoplanw/si kenou.j avqrw,pouj)

7.1 Pa/j ga,r( o]j a'n mh. o`mologh|/ VIhsou/n Cristo.n evn sarki. evlhluqe,nai( avnticristo,j evstin) kai. o[j a'n mh. o`mologh/| to. martu,rion tou/ staurou/( evk tou/ diabo,lou evsti,n\ kai. o]j a'n meqodeu,h| ta. lo,gia tou/ Kuri,ou pro.j ta.j ivdi,aj evpiqumi,aj( kai. le,gei mh,te avna,stasin mh,te kri,sin( ou-toj prwto,toko,j evsti tou/ Satana/)

7.2 dio. avpolipo,ntej th.n mataio,thta tw/n pollw/n kai. ta.j yeudodidaskali.aj evpi. to.n evx avrch/j h`mi/n paradoqenta lo,gon evpistre,ywmen( nh,fontej pro.j ta.j euvca.j kai. proskarterou/ntej nhstei,aij( deh,sesin aivtou,menoi to.n pantepo,pthn Qeo.n mh. eivsenegkei.n h`ma/j eivj peirasmo,n( kaqw.j ei=pen o` Ku,rioj\ to. me.n pneu/ma pro,qumon( h` de. sa.rx avsqenh,j

8.1 VAdialei,ptwj ou=n proskarterw/men th|/ evlpi,di h`mw/n kai. tw|/ avrranw/ni th/j dikaiosu,nhj h`mw/n( o[j evsti Cristo.j VIhsou/j( o]j avnh,negken h`mw/n ta.j a`marti,aj tw|/ ivdi,w| sw,mati evpi. to. xu,lon( o]j a`martian ouvk evpoi,hsen( ouvde. eu`re,qh do,loj evn tw|/ sto,mati auvtou/( avlla. diV h`ma/j( i[na zh,swmen evn auvtw|/( pa,nta u`pe,meinen)

8.2 mimhtai. ou=n genw,meqa th/j u`pomonh/j @auvtou/#\ kai. eva.n pa,scwmen dia. to. o;noma auvtou/( doxa,zwmen auvto,n) tou/ton ga.r h`mi/n to.n u`pogrammo.n e;qhke diV e`autou/( kai. h`mei/j tou/to evpiteu,samen

9.1 Parakalw/ ou=n pa,ntaj u`ma/j peiqarcei.n tw|/ lo,gw| th/j dikaiosu,nhj kai. avskei.n pa/san u`pomonh,n( h]n kai. ei;date katV ovfqalmou.j ouv mo,non evn toi/j makari,oij VIgnati,w| kai. Zwsi,mw| kai. ~Rou,fw|( avlla. kai. evn a;lloij toi/j evx u`mw/n kai. evn auvtw|/ Pau,lw| kai. toi/j loipoi.j avposto,loij\

9.2 pepeisme,nouj o[ti ou-toi pa,ntej ouvk eivj keno,n e;dramon( avllV evn pi,stei kai. dikaiosu,nh|( kai. o[ti eivj to.n ovfeilo,menon auvtoi/j to,pon eivsi. para. tw|/ Kuri,w|( w-| kai. sune,paqon) ouv ga.r to.n nu/n hvga,phsan aivw/na( avlla. to.n u`pe.r h`mw/n avpoqano,nta kai. diV h`ma/j u`po. tou/ Qeou/ avnasta,nta)

10.1 In his ergo state et Domini exemplar sequimini, firmi in fide et immutabiles, fraternitatis amatores diligentes invicem, in veritate sociati, mansuetudinem Domini alterutri praestolantes, nullum despicientes.

10.2 Cum potestis benefacere, nolite differre, quia Eleemosyna de morte liberat. Omnes vobis invicem subiecti estote, conversationem vestram irreprehensibilem habentes in gentibus, ut ex bonis operibus vestris et vos laudem accipiatis et Dominus in vobis non blasphemetur.

10.3 Vae autem per quem nomen Domini blasphematur. Sobrietatem ergo docete omnes, in qua et vos conversamini.

11.1 Nimis contristatus sum pro Valente, qui presbyter factus est aliquando apud vos, quod sic ignoret is locum qui datus est ei. Moneo itaque vos, ut abstineatis vos ab avaritia et sitis casti veraces. Abstinete vos ab omni malo.

11.2 Qui autem non potest se in his gubernare, quomodo alii pronuntiat hoc? Si quis non se abstinuerit ab avaritia, ab idololatria coinquinabitur, et tanquam inter gentes iudicabitur, qui ignorant iudicium Domini. Aut nescimus, quia sancti mundum indicabunt? sicut Paulus docet.

11.3 Ego autem nihil tale sensi in vobis vel audivi, in quibus laboravit beatus Paulus, qui estis in principio epistulae eius: de vobis etenim gloriatur in omnibus ecclesiis, quae solae tunc Dominum cognoverant; nos autem nondum cognoveramus.

11.4 Valde ergo, fratres, contristor pro illo et pro coniuge eius, quibus det Dominus poenitentiam veram. Sobrii ergo estote et vos in hoc; et non sicut inimicos tales existimetis, sed sicut passibilia membra et errantia eos revocate, ut omnium vestrum corpus salvetis. Hoc enim agentes, vos ipsos aedificatis.

12.1 Confido enim vos bene exercitatos esse in sacris literis, et nihil vos latet; mihi autem non est concessum. Modo, Ut his scripturis dictum est, Irascimini et nolite peccare, et Sol non occidat super iracundiam vestram. Beatus, qui meminerit; quod ego credo esse in vobis.

12.2 Deus autem et pater Domini nostri Jesu Christi et ipse sempiternus pontifex, Dei filius Jesus Christus, aedificet vos in fide et veritate et in omni mansuetudine et sine iracundia et in patientia et in longanimitate et tolerantia et castitate; et det vobis sortem et partem inter sanctos suos, et nobis vobiscum, et omnibus qui sunt sub caelo, qui credituri sunt in Dominum nostrum et Deum Jesum Christum et in ipsius patrem qui resuscitavit eum a mortuis.

12.3 Pro omnibus sanctis orate. Orate etiam pro regibus et potestatibus et principibus atque pro persequentibus et odientibus vos et pro inimicis crucis, ut fructus vester manifestus sit in omnibus, ut sitis in illo perfecti.

13.1 VEgra,yate, moi kai. u`mei/j kai. VIgna,tioj i[na eva,n tij avperchtai eivj Suri,an( kai. ta. parV u`mw/n avpokomi,sh| gra,mmata\ o[per poih,sw( eva.n la,bw kairo.n eu;qeton( ei;te evgw. ei;te o]n pe,myw presbeu,sonta kai. peri. u`mw/n)

13.2 ta.j evpistola.j VIgnati,ou ta.j pemfqei,saj h`mi/n u`pV auvtou/( kai. a;llaj o[saj ei;comen parV h`mi/n( evpe,myamen u`mi/n( kaqw.j evnetei,lasqe\ ai[tineju`potetagme,nai eivsi. th|/ evpistolh|/ tau,th|\ evx w-n mega,la wvfelhqh/nai dunh,sesqe) perie,cousi ga.r pi,stin kai. u`pomonh.n kai. pa=san oivkodomh.n th/n eivj to/n Ku.rion h`mw/n avnh,kousan) et de ipso Ignatio et de his qui cum eo sunt, quod certius agnoveritis, significate.

14:1 Haec vobis scripsi per Crescentem, quem in praesenti commendavi vobis, et nunc commendo: conversatus est enim nobiscum inculpabiliter, credo autem quia et vobiscum similiter. Sororem autem eius habebitis commendatam, cum venerit ad vos. Incolumes estote in Domino Jesu Christo in gratia cum omnibus vestris. Amen.