A simple question; I am reading the Apostolic Fathers and have noticed how they frequently refer to themselves as 'Gods Chosen' and speak of the Old Testament prophets as 'Our Forefathers'. This naturally leads us to ask whether or not any of them were ethnic Jews? Considering that Eusebius records the first fifteen Bishops of Jerusalem as 'being of the circumcision' it would be strange if none of the apostolic fathers were of that ethnicity.
It is piously believed by many Catholics that St. Ignatius of Antioch was of Jewish origin. In fact, there is an ancint tradition that he was the child whom Christ took and presented to the apostles as the example of the one who is greater in the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 18:1-4).
St. Ignatius of Antioch, the child who is greater in the kingdom of heaven
At that hour the disciples came to Jesus, saying: Who thinkest thou is the greater in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus calling unto him a little child, set him in the midst of them, And said: Amen I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, he is the greater in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 18:1-4)
According to an ancient tradition, St. Ignatius of Antioch was the child whom Christ took and presented to the apostles as the example of the one who is greater in the kingdom of heaven. From that day the child, who was most beloved by the Savior and favored with the divine embrace, was also marked as the one upon whom lions would feast in the Roman Colosseum.
The Orthodox Church seem to piously hold to this tradition about St. Ignatius of Antioch also.