St. Polycarp of Smyrna (+166 or 167)
Commemorated on February 23
St. Polycarp was born a pagan and was converted to the faith of Christ and baptized by St. John the Theologian. St. Polycarp was orphaned at an early age when Callista, a noble widow, took him as her own son, raised and educated him. Devout and compassionate from an early age, St. Polycarp strove to emulate the life of St. Bucolus (the Bishop of Smyrna,) as well as the Holy Apostles John and Paul whom he knew and heard. St. Bucolus appointed Polycarp as his successor in Smyrna, and Polycarp was consecrated as bishop at the repose of St. Buccolus. St. Polycarp was gifted with the power of working miracles. He expelled an evil spirit from the servant of a prince, stopped a raging fire in Smyrna, and brought down rain in times of drought, healed illnesses, and prophesied. St. Polycarp suffered during the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, and when soldiers arrested him and brought him to trial, he cried out "Let this be the will of the Lord my God." When St. Polycarp was sentenced to be burned alive, he prayed to God. The flames swirled and encircled him, but did not touch him. When the executioner pierced him with a lance, so much blood flowed from him, that the fire was extinguished.