“When he disembarked and saw the vast crowd, his heart was moved with pity for them, for they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
By now it was already late and his disciples approached him and said, “This is a deserted place and it is already very late.
Dismiss them so that they can go to the surrounding farms and villages and buy themselves something to eat.”
He said to them in reply, “Give them some food yourselves.”
But they said to him, “Are we to buy two hundred days’ wages worth of food and give it to them to eat?”
He asked them, “How many loaves do you have? Go and see.” And when they had found out they said, “Five loaves and two fish.”
So he gave orders to have them sit down in groups on the green grass.
The people took their places in rows by hundreds and by fifties.
Then, taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to (his) disciples to set before the people; he also divided the two fish among them all.
They all ate and were satisfied.
And they picked up twelve wicker baskets full of fragments and what was left of the fish.
Those who ate (of the loaves) were five thousand men.” -Mark 6:34-44.
Saint Apollinaris the Apologist
Claudius Apollinaris, Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the second age of the Church, which began with the edict of Constantine in 313, making Christianity the religion of the Roman Empire. Notwithstanding the great eulogies bestowed on Saint Apollinaris by Eusebius, Saint Jerome, Theodoret, and others, little is known of his acts, and his writings, which then were held in great esteem, are apparently all lost. 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.
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. 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.
The exact date of Saint Apollinaris’ death is not known; the Roman Martyrology mentions him on the 8th of January.