Our Story

Who We Are

We specialize in printed and electronic books related to Christian theology, apologetics, and history.  We seek to fill the gap between general Christian books and denomination-specific materials by focusing on wider Church topics, the early New Testament Church, and ecumenical and apologetical issues.

We are a member of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), the Christian Small Publishers Association (CSPA), and the Small Publishers, Artists & Writers Network (SPAWN).

We also support the IBPA’s Industry Standards Checklist for a Professionally Published Book.

Our Mission

To enable the Christian Church to know, understand, defend, and proclaim the faith to the nations.

Our Founding

St. Polycarp Publishing House was started by Rev. Aaron Simms in 2014.  He saw the need for a Christian publishing company to fill the gap left by denominational-specific publishers on the one hand and general publishing companies on the other.  He wanted a publishing company which would help teach, defend, and confess the Apostolic Christian faith.  The company would do so by publishing works related to Christian history, apologetics, and theology for all age levels.

St. Polycarp Publishing House was thus born.  Rev. Simms found inspiration for the name in the revered St. Polycarp of Smyrna.  St. Polycarp was a Christian bishop of the second century AD who was taught by the Apostle John and served as the bishop of the Church in Smyrna.  In 155 AD, he was martyred in the arena of Smyrna by the Roman authorities.

St. Polycarp represents the next generation of the Church after the Apostles, carrying on the Apostolic faith to succeeding generations.  St. Polycarp Publishing House takes its name from him in this same spirit.

Saint Polycarp, by Michael Burghers, c. 1685 from ”The Life of S. Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna” (Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=3527400)

Why Republish Old Christian Writings?

From Rev. Aaron Simms

Over the last couple years, St. Polycarp Publishing House has been working on new editions of various classic Christian writings from the first few centuries of the New Testament Church.  So far, we’ve published versions of Justin Martyr’s “First and Second Apologies”, Tertullian’s “Defense of the Christian Faith”, and St. Polycarp’s “Epistle to the Philippians” and the “Martyrdom of Polycarp.”  Each of these includes the English-translated texts as well as my own notes and commentary.  Our current project is an edition of Athenagoras’ “Embassy for the Christians” and “The Resurrection of the Dead”.

So, why do this?  Why go through the effort of republishing these works when the original text and good English translations are in the public domain?  Relatedly, why would someone purchase these versions?

First, it’s true that these texts and translations are freely available on the internet.  A great site for accessing them is the Christian Classics Ethereal Library, or CCEL.  This site electronically reproduces public domain texts and has an extensive library of Christian material.

There are a few problems, however:

  • By necessity (due to copyright law) the English translations are nearly 100 years old, or older, and could use some refreshing in certain spots in order to update archaic English to more modern words and grammar.
  • The notes included in these texts are often products of their times and places (typically England or America in the 19th century).  Some notes refer to issues or writers with which we are now unconcerned or unfamiliar.
  • There are also places where there should be notes, but there are none.  In particular, the early Christian writers often reference Greek philosophical works and Biblical passages; notes providing the citations and some context would be helpful in these instances.
  • A related issue is that many of the citations to external works are not of sufficient detail to locate the original text.  For example, there are many instances where the translator cites a particular page number of a specific published edition of a work (which is now long out of print), rather than the chapter or section number of that work.  Thus, the citation is nearly un-locatable without more research.
  • Finally, it can be hard or unappealing to read these works on a website or even in the downloadable electronic formats provided.

Therefore, the St. Polycarp Publishing House editions of these works seek to solve these issues in the following ways:

  • Modernize the archaic language to more readable English while retaining the essential accuracy of the translation.
  • Provide new and updated notes to better explain the arguments which the original Christian authors were making.  Often, this means explaining the Roman and Greek mythologies which the Christians were seeking to counter.  It also means providing more historical context to the writings.
  • Update the citations to external works referenced by the original authors so that these sources can more easily be located.
  • Offer professional print and electronic publications of the works.

The overriding goal of publishing these books is to get modern Christian readers familiar with these important works of the early Church.  They will help Christians better appreciate the apologetical arguments made by the early Church, equip them to answer modern objections, and provide them with a greater understanding of the faith confessed by the early Christians.

About our Logo

Our logo incorporates the Chrismon of St. Ambrose, which consists of the Christian Chi Rho symbol and the Greek letters alpha and omega.  It conveys a sense of continuity with the apostolic Church and our mission to promote the Christian faith in the modern era.  Our logo was artfully designed by Anna Maria Hoffman.