Polycarp was 86 years old when the story starts. An old man, he was respected and loved by the local Christian community. Three days before his death, a vision told him he would be burned to death. When soldiers came to arrest Polycarp, he fled to another house. The soldiers arrested two people and tortured them until they gave up Polycarp’s hiding place.
The soldiers finally caught up to Polycarp, and he reacted with grace. He welcomed them into his home and asked them to eat and to drink at his table while he prayed. Polycarp knew what these men were about to do. He was going to be tortured and killed by fire. Yet he treated them with love.