Today, we (finally!) begin our series of character sketches from the movie “Polycarp: Destroyer of gods.” We will begin with Anna, written by Rebecca. Next, we will cover Germanicus and Cicero, followed by Elias and Melina. We’ll end with Irenaeus and finally, Polycarp. We hope you enjoy it!
Anna was rescued by Polycarp in the marketplace before being sold into slavery. She was adopted by a Christian family who shared their faith with her and loved her as their own daughter. As Anna learns her new family’s ways and the practices of these strange Christians, questions about who God is arise within her. She began to learn more and more about the God who loved her and knew her by name, and that the gods of the Romans were not real. She is surprised to learn that Polycarp was also a slave but was taken in by a Christian woman and taught about Christ. Anna learns to thank God and talk to him personally as she begins to experience what living in a family is.
Anna becomes concerned for Polycarp’s safety when the decree to worship the gods of the Romans is passed and Polycarp’s boldness comes to a head. In an attempt to soften Quadraticus’ stance toward Christians, she attempts to talk to the proconsul, but the soldiers’ roughness toward her forces her adopted brother Germanicus to get involved, and he is captured, ultimately leading to his death in the arena when he refused to deny his Lord. When a manhunt for Polycarp ensues following Germanicus’ death, Anna runs to a friend’s house with Polycarp’s treasured scrolls – manuscripts of Scripture that he had copied by hand and his letters. Polycarp retrieves the scroll, and Anna returns to Smyrna only to find that it is not safe for Polycarp to return. Anna runs with all her might to warn Polycarp – fulfilling her dream of becoming a “runner” (someone who ran to deliver the scrolls) and filling the void left by Germanicus – but the Roman soldiers are tipped off to pursue the elderly saint to Ephesus. After Polycarp is escorted by the Roman guards back to Smyrna, Anna journeys home to see her old friend’s fate. Polycarp is martyred. Years later, Anna is martyred for Christ also, but she transmits her faith to the next generation, encouraging them so they can also take a stand.