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St. Apollinaris the Apologist

Saint Apollinaris the Apologist

Bishop & Confessor

Apollinaris was a second-century bishop of Hierapolis, a city in Phrygia, in Asia Minor. He was praised for his sanctity and wisdom by many other saints, and was renowned for his writings opposing the heresies of the day. All of his full works are sadly lost, but some details of one famous letter are known, this being an apology addressed to the Emperor Marcus Aurelius. The Twelfth Legion of the Imperial Roman Army, known as the “Thunderbolt” or “Thundering Legion”, was serving directly under the Emperor, across the Danube, in the year of Our Lord 172. Most of the legion was in fact Christian. The barbarian Quadi had surrounded the legion, and the Christian Roman soldiers took to their knees in fervent prayer for deliverance. A sudden thunderstorm arose, throwing the barbarians into disarray, and the Romans drove back the enemy and entirely defeated them. In his apology, Bishop Apollinaris recounted this miracle of the Thundering Legion, and urged the Emperor to have mercy on the plight of the Christians, who continued to suffer great persecution. The holy bishop died sometime in the same century, most likely before the death of Marcus Aurelius himself.


Traditional Roman Martyrology for January 8th

AT Beauvais, in France, the holy martyrs Lucian, priest, Maximian and Julian. The last two were killed with the sword by the persecutors; but blessed Lucian, who had come to France with St. Denis, not fearing, after the slaughter of his companions, to confess the name of Christ openly, received the same sentence of death.

Also, St. Eugenian, martyr.

In Lybia, the holy martyrs Theophilus, deacon, and Helladius, who, after being lacerated and cut with sharp pieces of earthenware, were cast into the fire, and rendered their souls to God.

At Venice, the demise of blessed Lawrence Justinian, confessor, first patriarch of that city. Eminent for learning, and abundantly filled with the heavenly gifts of divine wisdom, he was ranked among the Saints by Alexander VIII. He is again mentioned on the 5th of September.

At Hierapolis, in Asia, St. Apollinaris, bishop, who was conspicuous for sanctity and learning, under Marcus Antoninus Verus.

At Naples, in Campania, the birthday of the bishop St. Severin, brother to the blessed martyr Victorinus, who, after working many miracles, went to rest, replenished with virtues and merits.

At Pavia, St. Maximus, bishop and confessor.

At Metz, St. Patiens, bishop.

The same day, among the inhabitants of Noricum (now Austria), the abbot St. Severin, who preached the Gospel in that country, and is called its apostle. By divine power his body was carried to Lucullanum, near Naples, and thence transferred to the monastery of St. Severin.

℣. And elsewhere many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.

℟. Thanks be to God.

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