We often forget to commemorate the translation of the relics of St. Ignatius of Antioch, whose primary feast is celebrated on December 20 because of the holiday hustle and bustle, but when we do remember him at our house, it is with a batch of some very special bread that serves to remind us of the deep love he had for Christ, so deep that he felt it in his very bones.
St. Ignatius was an actual disciple of the apostles who became Bishop of Antioch and is known for his letters to the early churches in which he instructed the faithful. Under the Emperor Trajan, Ignatius was sentenced to be thrown to the lions for refusing to worship pagan idols. On his way to his martyrdom in Rome, he sent a letter to the Church there, discussing his fate and giving instruction.
"Suffer me to be the food of wild beasts, whereby I may attain unto God. I am the wheat of God, and am to be ground by the teeth of wild beasts, in order that I may be found the pure bread of Christ…"
In the arena, the saint was quickly devoured by the wild animals so that only a few large bones were left. These were gathered by two of his deacons who brought them back to Antioch. After the defeat of Antioch by the Saracens, the bones were taken back to Rome where they remain to be venerated in the Church of St. Clement to this day.
In honor of our saint of the day, my children and I make a batch of St. Ignatius' Bones! Using ordinary bread dough, after the first rising, shape into long strips and tie a knot in each end. Place on a greased baking sheet and allow to rise till doubled, brush with egg wash, then bake for 15-20 minutes till golden.