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Ignatius to the Trallians

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Trallians,
              translated by Charles H. Hoole, 1885


0:1 Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, to the holy Church which is at Tralles, in Asia, beloved by God, the Father of Jesus Christ, elect and worthy of God, at peace by the flesh and blood and the passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, our hope in the resurrection unto him; which I salute in the fulness, after the Apostolic manner, and pray that it may rejoice greatly.


1:1 I have known that you have a disposition blameless and unmovable in patience, not merely for outward use, but in your very nature. Even as Polybius, your bishop, hath showed unto me, who came unto me in Smyrna, according to the will of God and of Jesus Christ, and so rejoiced with me in my bonds in Jesus Christ, that I beheld your whole multitude in him.

1:2 Having received, therefore, through him your benevolence, which is according to God, I seemed to have found you, as I knew already, to be imitators of God.


2:1 For when ye are subject unto the bishop as unto Jesus Christ, ye appear unto me not to live according to man, but according to Jesus Christ who died for us, that ye, by believing on his death, might escape death.

2:2 It is necessary, therefore, that ye should do nothing without the bishop, as indeed ye do, and that ye should submit yourselves to the presbytery also, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ, our hope, in whom we shall be found walking.

2:3 It is necessary, also, that the deacons, being ministers of the mysteries of Jesus Christ, should in every way please all men. For they are not ministers of meat and drink, but servants of the Church of God; it is therefore their duty to avoid offences as fire.


3:1 In like manner, let all men reverence the deacons, and the bishop likewise, even as Jesus Christ who is the Son of the Father; and the presbyters as the council of God, and as the bond of the Apostles. Without these there is no Church;

3:2 concerning which things I am persuaded that it is so with you: for I have received a specimen of your love, and have it with myself in the person of your bishop, whose appearance is great instruction, and whose meekness is strength; whom I reckon that even the ungodly respect, loving him because he spareth not himself.

3:3 Have I then, though able to write on this subject, come to such a degree of reputation, that though condemned, I should give ordinances unto you as an Apostle?


4:1 I know many things in God, but I measure myself that I may not be lost by boasting; for now is it necessary for me to fear even more, and not to attend to those who puff me up, for they who say such things to me scourge me.

4:2 Of a truth, I am content to suffer, yet I know not whether I be worthy. For this my zeal doth not appear to many, but it maketh war upon me with greater force. Therefore I need meekness, by which the ruler of this world is destroyed.


5:1 Am I not able to write to you concerning heavenly things? but I fear lest I should cause harm to you, because ye are babes; and (forgive me) lest not being able to receive it, ye be choked.

5:2 And I, too, not being according to my bonds, but being able to know the things celestial, and the stations of the angels, and the conflicts of principalities, both the things visible and invisible, yet even on that account am still a learner; for many things are lacking to us, that we may not fall short of God.


6:1 I therefore exhort you, yet not I but the love of Jesus Christ, to use the Christian food alone, and to abstain from all strange herbage, which is heresy;

6:2 the time that now is embraces Jesus Christ, not the devil. Do ye therefore, having again put on patience, refresh yourselves in faith, which is the flesh of the Lord, and love, which is the blood of Jesus Christ.


7:1 Guard yourselves, therefore, against such as these. And this will happen unto you if ye be not puffed up, and separate not from our God Jesus Christ, and the bishop, and the commandments of the Apostles.

7:2 He who is within the altar is pure; that is, he who doeth anything apart from the bishop and the presbytery and the deacons, he is not pure in his conscience.


8:1 It is not because I have known anything of the kind in you, but I put you on your guard beforehand because ye are my beloved, foreseeing the snares of the devil. Do ye therefore, having again put on patience, refresh yourselves in faith, which is the flesh of the Lord, and love, which is the blood of Jesus Christ.

8:2 Let none of you have aught against his neighbour; give no opportunities to the Gentiles, that the multitude which is in God may not be blasphemed for the folly of a few. For woe unto him, through whose foolishness my name among certain men is blasphemed.


9:1 Be ye deaf, therefore, when any one speaketh unto you apart from Jesus Christ, who is of the race of David, who was born of Mary, who was truly born, ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate, was truly crucified and died, in the sight of the things that are in heaven and on earth and under the earth;

9:2 and was truly raised from the dead, his Father having raised him up; according to the similitude of which also his Father shall raise up us who believe in him in Christ Jesus, apart from whom we have not the true life.


10:1 But if, as certain men who are without God, that is unbelievers, assert, his passion was an appearance, being themselves an appearance, why am I bound, and why do I pray to fight with wild beasts? therefore I die in vain. Of a truth, do I not lie against the Lord?


11:1 Avoid therefore the evil branches that produce deadly fruit, of which if any man taste he dieth forthwith. These, therefore, are not the planting of the Father,

11:2 for if they were they would appear branches of the cross, and their fruit would have been incorruptible, through which cross in his passion he exhorteth us who are his members. The head, therefore, cannot be born apart without the members, since God promiseth union, which is himself.


12:1 I salute you from Smyrna, together with the Churches of God who are present with me, who have in all things refreshed me, both in flesh and in spirit;

12:2 my bonds exhort you which I bear about for the sake of Jesus Christ, asking that I may attain unto God. Abide in your unity, and in prayer one with another, for it becometh each of you separately, and especially the presbyters, to refresh the bishop unto the honour of the Father, Jesus Christ and the Apostles.

12:3 I pray you in love to hear me, that I may not be for a testimony against you, by writing among you; and pray ye for me also, who need your love in the mercy of God, that I may be thought worthy of the lot to which I press forward to attain, that I may not be found a castaway.


13:1 The love of the Smyrnaeans and Ephesians saluteth you. Remember in your prayers the Church which is in Syria, of which I am not worthy to be called bishop, being the last of them.

13:2 Farewell in Jesus Christ, being subject to the bishop as to the commandment; and in like manner also to the presbytery. And do ye each of you love one another with undivided heart.

13:3 Purify ye my spirit, not only now, but when I attain unto God. For I am still in danger; but the Father in Jesus Christ is faithful to fulfil my request and yours, in whom may ye be found blameless.

{End of Ignatius to Trallians}

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