Polycarp was one of the most notable figures in the early post-apostolic church. He was bishop of Smyrna as early as A.D. 110 and died a martyrs death several decades later at the age of eighty-six. Irenaeus
met Polycarp as a child and both Irenaeus and Eusebius
assert that he had known the Apostle John. Polycarp was a strong opponent of Marcion and the Gnostic
movement. Among the writings preserved for our times are The Letter to the Philippians
by Polycarp himself and The Martyrdom of Polycarp
written by those who witnessed his death at the stake.1
1 J. B. Lightfoot and J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1989), 119-122.