Do I Really Need to Follow My Bishop? St. Ignatius Responds

Give heed to the bishop, that God may give heed to you. My soul is for theirs that are submissive to the bishop, to the presbyters, and to the deacons, and may my portion be with them in God! Labor together with one another; strive in company together; run together; suffer together; sleep together; and awake together, as the stewards, and associates, and servants of God. Please him under whom you fight, and from whom you receive your wages. Let none of you be found a deserter. Let your baptism endure as your arms; your faith as your helmet; your love as your spear; your patience as complete armor. Let your works be the charge assigned to you, that you may receive a worthy recompense. Be long-suffering with one another, in meekness, as God is towards you. May I have joy of you for ever! – Letter to Polycarp and Smyrna 6 (110 A.D).

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