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Rufus and Zosimus

The holy, glorious and right-victorious martyrs Rufus and Zosimus were companions of St. Ignatius of Antioch during his journey as a prisoner to Rome where they all were martyred early in the second century. Rufus and Zosimus are commemorated on December 18.


Rufus and Zosimus were early apostles who lived in Antioch and were caught up in the persecutions of Christians under the Roman emperor Trajan. As Bishop Igantius' companions on the trip to Rome during the first decade of the second century they stopped at Smyrna in Asia Minor at the time St. Polycarp was the Bishop of Smyrna. Polycarp was a disciple of St. John the Evangelist. After the party of Ss. Ignastius, Ruffus, and Zosimus left Smyrna, they continued through Philippi, in ancient Macedonia, on to Rome, as recorded in Polycarp's epistle to the Philippians.

Polycarp's epistle and other early writings allude to their efforts of spreading the faith in Asia Minor in the same mission field that Ignatius traversed. They were held up as examples for the early Christian communities even before their martyrdom and that they were rightly venerated and emulated as authentic heroes of the faith.

In Rome about the year 107, Rufus and Zosimus were thrown to the beasts in the Coliseum two days before Ignatius was likewise martyred before the crowds of Rome.