In Martyrium Polycarpi, a text written during the second half of the 2nd century, the concept of 'the martyrdom in accordance with the Gospel' is presented on the example of the attitude of the Smyrnean bishop Polycarp. Having escaped his persecutors, Polycarp receives a vision from God, in which he sees his pillow burning with fire, andin which God tells him to stop further hiding and foretells his martyr's death by beingburnt at the stake. The aim of the present paper is to explain why it is just through the symbol of the burning pillow that this message is communicated to Polycarp. Sincethe very text of Martyrium Polycarpi does not provide us with sufficient criteria to answer the question, it is necessary to refer to other writings with which it remains in intertextual relation, particularly, The Gospel of Matthew and The Gospel of Mark. In this intertextua perspective, the burning pillow symbolizes not only Polycarp's death at the stake, but also his resignation of further hiding and the bishop's trust in God.