July 23

From the Prologue

Apollinarius was a disciple of the Apostle Peter and was born in the city of Antioch. St. Peter took Apollinarius with him from Antioch to Rome and, in Rome, consecrated him as the bishop of Ravenna. Arriving in Ravenna, Apollinarius entered the home of the soldier Ireneaus, whose son he healed of blindness and through that converted his entire household to the Faith of Christ. He also cured the wife of the military commander of Ravenna of a terrible malady and baptized his entire household. At the wish of the military commander, Apollinarius remained in his home. There they constructed a small domestic chapel. Apollinarius remained there for twelve years preaching the Good News and baptizing unbelievers. On many occasions he was cruelly tortured by the pagan elders but the all-powerful right hand of the Lord sustained and saved him. Finally, he was sentenced to exile in Illyria in the Balkans. The boat upon which Apollinarius traveled was shipwrecked in a storm and sunk and of all the passengers aboard only St. Apollinarius, along with two soldiers and three of his clerics, was saved. Being miraculously saved, the soldiers believed in the power of Apollinarius' God and were baptized. Apollinarius then went to preach the Holy Gospel throughout all the Balkans descending as far as the Danube river. After this, he set out for Thrace where, under great pressure, he also spread the Gospel of the Lord. After three years of labor in the Balkans he was again banished to Italy. He arrived in Ravenna where all the faithful exceedingly rejoiced at his return. Hearing about this, the pagan elder wrote to Emperor Vespasian about Apollinarius as being a magician and asked him whether they should give him over to death as an enemy of their gods. The emperor replied that they should not kill him but only ask him to offer sacrifice to the gods or to banish him from the city for, says the emperor: "It is not dignified to seek revenge against anyone for the gods, for they themselves can avenge against their own enemies if they are angered". In spite of this order from the emperor the pagans attacked Apollinarius and pierced him with knives. This servant of God died of severe wounds and was received into the Kingdom of God. The relics of St. Apollinarius repose in the church dedicated to him in Ravenna, Italy.



Apollinarius, for the sake of Christ the God

Endured sufferings, great and many

Without any kind of anger, without any surprise,

For he knows that there is no salvation without suffering;

He knows that without suffering the Lord did not go

And saw Peter's pierced hands.

Knows about many, slaughtered as lambs

And by a sword into the Kingdom of God sent

And with the soul disposed, for that he was prepared,

That for the Living Christ, to endure public shame,

And the saint, all that the powers of Hades

Had prepared for the torturing of the faithful,

The saint endured all; with faith bore

And growing older, growing older, under the bitter torture

And even when he became old, the torturing did not pass,

Under bitter tortures, for Christ died,

By his heroism, many generations he astonished

Did not die but went to live eternally.

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