Today is the feast day of Saint Appollinaris. Ora pro nobis.
Saint APOLLINARIS, bishop of Hierapolis, in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age. Notwithstanding the great encomiums bestowed on him by Eusebius, St. Jerom, Theodoret, and others, we know but very little of his actions; and his writings which then were held in great esteem, seem now to be all lost. (3) He had written many excellent treatises against the heretics and pointed out, as Saint Jerome testifies, the philosophical sect from which each heresy derived its errors. (1)
Nothing rendered his name so illustrious, however, as the noble apology for the Christian religion which he addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius about the year 175. This was spoken soon after the miraculous victory the emperor obtained over enemies, through the prayers of the Christians.
St. Apollinaris, who could not see his flock torn in pieces and be silent, penned his apology to the emperor, to remind him of the benefit he had received from God by the prayers of the Christians, and to implore his protection. Saint Apollinaris reminded Marcus Aurelius of the benefit he had received from God through the prayers of his Christian subjects, and implored protection for them against the persecutions of the pagans. Marcus Aurelius published an edict in which he forbade anyone, under pain of death, to accuse a Christian on account of his religion; but, by a strange inconsistency, he did not have the courage to abolish the laws then in force against the Christians. As a consequence, many of them continued to suffer martyrdom, though their accusers were also put to death. (3)
The exact date of Saint Apollinaris’ death is not known; the Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January. (1)
Research by REGINA Staff