Saint Ignatius of Antioch (c.35-108) was a young convert to Christianity, and a disciple of the Apostle John. He was later called to serve as Bishop of Antioch, succeeding Saint Evodius.
His writings, especially his epistle to the Romans, mention his arrest by authorities, and travel to Rome for trial. Along this route, Ignatius wrote six letters to regional churches, and one to his fellow Bishop Polykarp of Smyrna.
In his epistle to the Romans, Saint Ignatius highlights the fact he 'shall not profit' from the pleasures of this world, but would rather 'die in behalf of Jesus Christ, than to reign over all the ends of the earth,' "for what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?" (Lk 9:25) Offering his life into God's hands, he willingly desires to imitate the Lord's passion, and be persecuted and tortured in His name. He prays for attainment to God, through his trial and martyrdom, with his life and example set on the Lord's commandment for His each follower to "deny Himself and take up his cross." (Matt 16:24-26)
St Ignatius' letters, along with the Didache, directly follow the New Testament period, and consist of several parallels to St Paul's letters. The Bishop of Antioch enters into the Pauline, and wider Christian Apostolic tradition, preceding the well known writings and theology of St Irenaeus, who develops on Ignatius' Eucharistic theology and Ecclesiology; particularly the notion of 'The Body of Christ.' Just as there is one Eucharist, one Altar, and one Christ, there should be one Bishop in each area. As well as the undertone of unity to his theology, Ignatius significantly emphasises the real presence in the Eucharist, being at the centre of the Christian's liturgical life, as the way in which we unite with the historical Christ Who suffered and died for us, in the ecclesial community.