Ante Nicene Fathers Timeline

Ignatius of Antioch, Early Church Father of the Christian Church

We know very little about Ignatius of Antioch, except for the epistles (letters) which he wrote and a handful of brief mentions by Irenaeus and Origen, which may, or may not be accurate. It is best therefore to allow the epistles that are attributed to him to speak for themselves and in reading them we learn of this very sincere and devout follower of Christ and early father of the church.

We are encouraged to believe that the epistles were written by him whilst en route from Antioch to Rome, where he faced execution by being torn to pieces by wild beasts.

Theologians have long argued over the authenticity of some of the epistles which are claimed to have been written by him. There are a total of fifteen manuscripts bearing his name but some are widely acknowledged as not having been written by him. Most theologians of the Catholic and Orthodox faith accept seven of the epistles as being genuine whilst Protestant theologians do not accept any as being genuine.

The Epistles have come down to us in two versions, the 'Shorter Versions' and the 'Longer Versions'. The shorter versions are accepted as being genuine and written by Ignatius, whilst the longer versions are doubtful and were probably copied and embelished later by a follower of Ignatius. For that reason the two versions are separated in the following section of the website with the shorter versions (genuine) on the left and the longer versions (doubtful) on the right. In any case they are both of great value to all Christians and provide us with an insight into the lives of Christians at the end of the first centuary and how Ignatius communicated with them.

Ignatius of Antioch


The Epistles of Ignatius

Ignatius to the Ephesians Ignatius to the Magnesians
Ignatius to the Trallians Ignatius to the Romans
Ignatius to the Philadelphians Ignatius to the Smyrnians
Ignatius to Polycarp  

Early Church Fathers

Clement of Rome Ignatius of Antioch Polycarp of Smyrna
Clement of Alexandria Tertullian of Carthage Cyprian of Carthage
Irenaeus of Lyons Origen of Alexandria Athanasius of Alexandria

Council of Nicaea AD 325