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Saturday, July 23, 2011

July 23rd, Saint Apollinaris, Bishop & Martyr

July 23rd, Saint Apollinaris, Bishop & Martyr

Apollinaris was the first to be Bishop of Ravenna, and Saint Peter Chrysologus, the most illustrious of his successors, in a sermon which hath come down to us, referred to him as a Martyr, but added that although he frequently shed his blood for Christ, his persecutors did not take away his life. However, he was venerated in the early days as one f the greatest of Martyrs, and it is therefore to be presumed that he suffered much and often for Christ. * The Book of his Acts saith that he came to Rome along with blessed Peter, and that the Apostle himself consecrated him as bishop, and sent him to Ravenna to preach the Gospel, where he converted many to the Christian Faith. For which the idolatrous priests caught him and gave him a sharp flogging. Whereafter a second riot was got up against him because he healed Boniface, a nobleman who had long been dumb, and delivered his daughter from an unclean spirit. On this occasion Apollinaris was flogged again, and made to walk barefoot over hot embers, and them expelled from the city. Whereupon he hid for a while with certain Christians, and afterwards went to Emilia, where he brought many to Christ. For which the ruler of that city also had him driven from place to place and country to country, until he was thus driven back to Ravenna, where he was denounced by the same idolatrous priests as before. * After which things Apollinaris fled away again, but was followed after, and caught and beaten, and left for dead by the roadside, where some Christians found him, and took him and cared for him, so that he lived seven days, exhorting them to stand firm in the Faith. And so he departed this life with the glorious splendour of martyrdom, and his body was buried hard by the wall of the city.


O God, who rewardest the souls of the faithful, who hast likewise made this day holy with the martyrdom of thy blessed Priest Apollinaris : grant, we pray thee, that we thy servants, who here observe his solemn festival, may by his intercession obtain the pardon of thy mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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