The One Thing We Can Learn from Cranky Saint Polycarp

"The One Thing We Can Learn from Cranky St. Polycarp" by Pam Spano (

By PvasiliadisOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

“Don’t you know who I am, Polycarp?” the heretic Marcion asked.

“Oh yes,” said the saint, “I know the firstborn of Satan when I see him.”

This quote was my introduction to Saint Polycarp (155? or 166?) whose feast day we celebrate today. This cranky saint was a second-generation apostle who knew the original twelve. He accepted his gruesome martyrdom at the tender age of 86.

So for the first time what is the one thing we can we learn from Saint Polycarp? Recently I wrote an article about how social media has left my heart broken. The viciousness that can be the internet reminded me of this saint, but perhaps his curmudgeonly attitude came from the fact that he was constantly sought out for persecution for that faith. When the governor of Smyrna demanded Polycarp recant his faith, Polycarp answered: “How can I blaspheme against my king and savior?” and “Hear me clearly, I am Christian!”

Despite the constant attacks on him (and ultimately his martyrdom for the faith), Saint Polycarp believed that for all of his eighty-six years his King and Savior had “done him no wrong.”

Life’s been good to me so far and I have my faith in Jesus and His teachings to thank. As a convert, I have a clear view of my life before being Catholic and after.  I learned from Saint Polycarp that my Savior has indeed “done me no wrong.”

"The One Thing We Can Learn from Cranky St. Polycarp" by Pam Spano (

Copyright 2017 Pam Spano. All rights reserved.

Have you ever heard of Saint Polycarp? What has this cranky saint taught you?

Copyright 2017 Pam Spano


About Author

Pam Spano converted to the Catholic faith as an adult over 30 years ago. Her conversion story started when she sarcastically said to her Catholic boyfriend at the time, "I suppose if we were to get married, you would want me to convert." He thought for a moment and said, "Well, I am worried about your soul." And so the journey began ...


  1. I haven’t heard of Saint Polycarp before! I’m always grateful to learn that saints are holy– but that doesn’t mean they were without faults. Like being cranky. 🙂

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