Saint Apollinaris the Apologist

(† 180)

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.

(SOURCE: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)



“Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news of him spread throughout the whole region.

He taught in their synagogues and was praised by all.

He came to Nazareth, where he had grown up, and went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day.

He stood up to read and was handed a scroll of the prophet Isaiah.

He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”

Rolling up the scroll, he handed it back to the attendant and sat down, and the eyes of all in the synagogue looked intently at him.

He said to them, “Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.”

And all spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth.

They also asked, “Isn’t this the son of Joseph?” ” -Luke 4:14-22.