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Polycarp (c.69–155)

  1. John K. Tarwater

Published Online: 25 NOV 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9780470670606.wbecc1090

The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization

How to Cite

Tarwater, J. K. 2011. Polycarp (c.69–155). The Encyclopedia of Christian Civilization. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 25 NOV 2011


Polycarp was Bishop of Smyrna (modern day Turkey) during the 2nd century. His writings are representative of the earliest orthodox Christian authors not included in the New Testament, often entitled the Apostolic Fathers. Indeed, Polycarp's letters reflect the apostolic tradition. Irenaeus, the Bishop of Lyons, claims that Polycarp received the tradition from John, the disciple of the Lord, and that he was appointed bishop by other “apostles in Asia.” Thus, Polycarp adopted the Christian life early, and quickly became a leader in the faith.


  • polycarp (c.69–155);
  • polycarp, bishop of smyrna;
  • polycarp, in the anonymous vita;
  • polycarp, and accounts of his martyrdom