Whether he died on February 23, 155, or sometime later during the reign of Marcus Aurelius, today is a good day to remember the faith of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, who was killed-- burned at the stake, then stabbed when the flames refused to cooperate-- for failing to renounce Jesus. According to the contemporary account, the following conversation took place in the stadium, before the gathered crowd:
Proconsul: "Take an oath by the emperor's guardian spirit; curse Christ."
Polycarp: "I have served him for eighty-six years and he has done me no wrong. How can I blaspheme my king and saviour?"