Saint Polycarp was a disciple of Saint John the Evangelist and was Bishop of Smyrna in the Second Century. Polycarp stood firm in his resolution not to submit to the will of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius by not renouncing his faith As a result, Polycarp was persecuted by the Emperor and sentenced to death by being thrown into a fire. Witnesses to this execution say that the flames had no effect on Polycarp, so the soldiers resorted to carrying out the execution by stabbing him with a dagger.

 The Catholic Encyclopedia