The Transfer of the Relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius the God-Bearer: (See December 20). After the holy hieromartyr, Ignatius was thrown to the lions in the year 107 on the orders of the emperor Trajan, Christians gathered up his bones and preserved them at Rome.
Later, in the year 108, the saint’s relics were collected and buried outside the gate of Daphne at Antioch. A second transfer, to the city of Antioch itself, took place in the year 438. After the capture of Antioch by the Persians, the relics of the Hieromartyr Ignatius were returned to Rome and placed into the church of the Holy Hieromartyr Clement in the year 540 (in 637, according to other sources).
Saint Ignatius introduced antiphonal singing into Church services. He has left us seven archpastoral epistles in which he provided instructions on faith, love and good works. He also urged his flock to preserve the unity of the faith and to beware of heretics. He encouraged people to honour and obey their bishops, “We should regard the bishop as we would the Lord Himself.” (To the Ephesians 6)
In his Letter to Polycarp, Saint Ignatius writes: “Listen to the bishop, if you want God to listen to you... let your baptism be your shield, your faith a helmet, your charity a spear, your patience, like full armor.” (Compare Eph. 6:14-17 and the Wisdom of Solomon 5:17-20. Also The Ladder 4:2)
Troparion — Tone 4
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, / you became a successor to their throne. / Through the practice of virtue, you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; / by teaching the word of truth without error, you defended the Faith, / even to the shedding of your blood. / Hieromartyr Ignatius, entreat Christ God to save our souls.
Kontakion — Tone 4
Today you rose from the east, / enlightening all of creation with your teachings, / and you are crowned with martyrdom, God-bearing Ignatius.