St. Ignatius, a bishop of Antioch, was a disciple of St. John the Apostle. He authored seven letters that are among the earliest surviving patristic writings. He died a martyr under Trajan. While being tortured, he repeatedly called upon Jesus Christ, telling his tormentors that he could not stop invoking a name that was written upon his heart.
He was then thrown to savage beasts in the Roman arena; the emperor’s purpose was to see the saint devoured so that no relics of his body might remain. However, the two lions that leapt upon the saint would not bite or tear his flesh; he died rather by being smothered by their bodies.
When his heart was later removed from his dead body, the name of Jesus Christ was indeed found written on it in gold letters.
Traditional Greek icons of St. Ignatius confer on him the title Theophoros, or God-bearer. They depict him vested as a bishop, with two lions facing in opposite directions. I here have followed these traditions, but have chosen to depict episcopal vestments of the Latin rite rather than the Greek. An interlocking blackletter monogram of the holy name IHS XPS appears over the martyr’s heart, and flames surround the entire picture, referring to the etymological link between fire and the name Ignatius.
Medium: Drawing, color ink on calfskin vellum with gold and palladium leaf
Dimensions: 4" × 6"
The original drawing was made on private commission.
Open-edition giclée prints of this drawing are available. You may use the buttons below to pay via PayPal, debit card, or credit card. Be sure to confirm the shipping address.
Actual size art print: $23
8" × 12" large print: $46
200dpi digital download: $5
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