St Apollinarius, Bishop & Martyr

Jeremiah 1.1,4-10; Psalm 70; Matthew 13.1-9

Apollinarius was probably born in Antioch in the Roman province of Syria (modern-day Turkey), and apparently he there came under the influence of St Peter, who may have commissioned him as Bishop of Ravenna (which, of course, much later in the 5th Century was to become the capital of the western Roman Empire until the Empire’s collapse in 476). It is difficult to establish his dates of birth and death with any degree of certainty. Apollinarius was bishop of Ravenna for more than a quarter century, during which he faced almost constant persecution.

During his public ministry he was renowned for having the gift of healing physical ailments in the name of Christ. He was frequently exiled, tortured and imprisoned and finally martyred, probably at Classis, a suburb of Ravenna, possibly during the persecution of the Emperor Vespasian. There are two basilicas built in his honour in Ravenna, and his cult spread to Aachen, to Dijon, to Bologna, and to Bohemia. He is invoked as patron against suffering from gout, venereal disease and epilepsy.

Posted in Daily Reflection.