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Chapter XVI.—Polycarp is pierced by a dagger.

At length, when those wicked men perceived that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through with a dagger. And on his doing this, there came forth a dove, 462 and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished; and all the people wondered that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect, of whom this most admirable Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna. For every word that went out of his mouth either has been or shall yet be accomplished.



Eusebius omits all mention of the dove, and many have thought the text to be here corrupt. It has been proposed to read ἐπ’ ἀριστερᾷ, “on the left hand side,” instead of περιστερά, “a dove.”

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