THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS
THE EPISTLE OF IGNATIUS TO THE TRALLIANS
Translated by J.B. Lightfoot.
Adapt. and mod. (c) 1990. ATHENA DATA PRODUCTS
Ignatius, who is also Theophorus, unto her that is beloved by God the
Father of Jesus Christ; to the holy church which is in Tralles of
Asia, elect and worthy of God, having peace in flesh and spirit
through the passion of Jesus Christ, who is our hope through our
resurrection unto Him; which church also I salute in the Divine
plenitude after the apostolic fashion, and I wish her abundant
I have learned that ye have a mind unblamable and steadfast in
patience, not from habit, but by nature, according as Polybius your
bishop informed me, who by the will of God and of Jesus Christ
visited me in Smyrna; and so greatly did he rejoice with me in my
bonds in Christ Jesus, that in him I beheld the whole multitude of
Having therefore received your godly benevolence at his hands, I gave
glory, forasmuch as I had found you to be imitators of God, even as I
For when ye are obedient to the bishop as to Jesus Christ, it is
evident to me that ye are living not after men but after Jesus
Christ, who died for us, that believing on His death ye might escape
It is therefore necessary, even as your wont is, that ye should do
nothing without the bishop; but be ye obedient also to the
presbytery, as to the Apostles of Jesus Christ our hope; for if we
live in Him, we shall also be found in Him.
And those likewise who are deacons of the mysteries of Jesus Christ
must please all men in all ways. For they are not deacons of meats
and drinks but servants of the Church of God. It is right therefore
that they should beware of blame as of fire.
In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even
as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and
the presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles.
Apart from these there is not even the name of a church.
And I am persuaded that ye are so minded as touching these matters:
for I received the ensample of your love, and I have it with me, in
the person of your bishop, whose very demeanor is a great lesson,
while his gentleness is power--a man to whom I think even the godless
Seeing that I love you I thus spare you, though I might write more
sharply on his behalf: but I did not think myself competent for this,
that being a convict I should order you as though I were an Apostle.
I have many deep thoughts in God: but I take the measure of myself,
lest I perish in my boasting. For now I ought to be the more afraid
and not to give heed to those that would puff me up: for they that
say these things to me are a scourge to me.
For though I desire to suffer, yet I know not whether I am worthy:
for the envy of the devil is unseen indeed by many, but against me it
wages the fiercer war. So then I crave gentleness, whereby the prince
of this world is brought to nought.
Am I not able to write to you of heavenly things? But I fear lest I
should cause you harm being babes. So bear with me, lest not being
able to take them in, ye should be choked.
For I myself also, albeit I am in bonds and can comprehend heavenly
things and the arrays of the angels and the musterings of the
principalities, things visible and things invisible---I myself am not
yet by reason of this a disciple. For we lack many things, that God
may not be lacking to us.
I exhort you therefore-yet not I, but the love of Jesus Christ-take
ye only Christian food, and abstain from strange herbage, which is
for these men do even mingle poison with Jesus Christ,
imposing upon others by a show of honesty, like persons administering
a deadly drug with honeyed wine, so that one who knoweth it not,
fearing nothing, drinketh in death with a baneful delight.
Be ye therefore on your guard against such men. And this will surely
be, if ye be not puffed up and if ye be inseparable from [God] Jesus
Christ and from the bishop and from the ordinances of the Apostles.
He that is within the sanctuary is clean; but he that is without the
sanctuary is not clean, that is, he that doeth aught without the
bishop and presbytery and deacons, this man is not clean in his
Not indeed that I have known of any such thing among you, but I keep
watch over you betimes, as my beloved, for I foresee the snares of
the devil. Do ye therefore arm yourselves with gentleness and recover
yourselves in faith which is the flesh of the Lord, and in love which
is the blood of Jesus Christ.
Let none of you bear a grudge against his neighbor. Give no occasion
to the Gentiles, lest by reason of a few foolish men the godly
multitude be blasphemed: for Woe unto him through whom My name is
vainly blasphemed before some.
Be ye deaf therefore, when any man speaketh to you apart from Jesus
Christ, who was of the race of David, who was the Son of Mary, who
was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius
Pilate, was truly crucified and died in the sight of those in heaven
and those on earth and those under the earth;
who moreover was truly raised from the dead, His Father having raised
Him, who in the like fashion will so raise us also who believe on
Him--His Father, I say, will raise us--in Christ Jesus, apart from
whom we have not true life.
But if it were as certain persons who are godless, that is
unbelievers, say, that He suffered only in semblance, being
themselves mere semblance, why am I in bonds? And why also do I
desire to fight with wild beasts? So I die in vain. Truly then I lie
against the Lord.
Shun ye therefore those vile offshoots that gender a deadly fruit,
whereof if a man taste, forthwith he dieth. For these men are not the
for if they had been, they would have been seen to
be branches of the Cross, and their fruit imperishable--the Cross
whereby He through His passion inviteth us, being His members. Now it
cannot be that a head should be found without members, seeing that God
promiseth union, and this union is Himself
I salute you from Smyrna, together with the churches of God that are
present with me; men who refreshed me in all ways both in flesh and
My bonds exhort you, which for Jesus Christ's sake I bear
about, entreating that I may attain unto God; abide ye in your
concord and in prayer one with another. For it becometh you
severally, and more especially the presbyters, to cheer the soul of
your bishop unto the honor of the Father [and to the honor] of Jesus
Christ and of the Apostles.
I pray that ye may hearken unto me in love, lest I be for a testimony
against you by having so written. And pray ye also for me who have
need of your love in the mercy of God, that I may be vouchsafed the
lot which I am eager to attain, to the end that I be not found
The love of the Smyrnaens and Ephesians saluteth you. Remember in
your prayers the church which is in Syria; whereof [also] I am not
worthy to be called a member, being the very last of them.
Fare ye well in Jesus Christ, submitting yourselves to the bishop as
to the commandment, and likewise also to the presbytery; and each of
you severally love one another with undivided heart.
My spirit is offered up for you, not only now, but also when I shall
attain unto God. For I am still in peril; but the Father is faithful
in Jesus Christ to fulfill my petition and yours. May we be found
unblamable in Him.