October 21, 2015 – Excerpted from Put Out Into the Deep, Bishop DiMarzio’s column in The Tablet:
Last week, we celebrated the Feast of St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of the early Bishops of the Church who was ordained a bishop by the Apostles themselves. He was born in the Year 50 in Syria, and he died in Rome sometime after the Year 100 as a Martyr. His remains were taken back to Antioch, today the modern city of Aleppo, which is referred to frequently in news about the current war in Syria. I am not sure what remains of Aleppo. The ancient Antioch, crossroads of the world and a major stop on the trade route to the Far East, was a city of many cultures. It was also the founding site of the early Church, to which the name Christian was first applied.
Today, the title of Ignatius is passed on to the various Eastern Churches that venerate him as their founder. My good friend, Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan, is the Catholic patriarch of the Syriac Rite. His residence had been moved to Lebanon years ago because of the unstable situation in Syria.
St. Ignatius, whose feast we celebrated on Oct. 17, is a wonderful example of the founding bishops of the Church. His writings, although some are disputed in their origin, give us a wonderful understanding from the earliest days of the Church of the central tenets of our faith. Without dispute, he named the three parts of the sacrament of Holy Orders; Diaconate, Priesthood and Episcopacy. Ignatius attributed their foundation to Christ Himself. We also learned much about the doctrine of the Eucharist, as for the first time it is referred to as a “blessed sacrament.”
Read the full text of the Bishop’s column on The Tablet website.