Saint of the Day ~ January 8

SAINT APOLLINARIS, THE APOLOGIST (?-c.179), bishop

Today, the Church honors Saint Apollinaris, an apologist (a defender) of the Christian faith who became known for his treatises against the heretics of his day, exposing and refuting their heresies by logically exposing their irrational and implausible line of thinking.

Apollinaris Claudius, who was Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, an ancient city in southwestern Turkey, was one of the most illustrious prelates of the Church of the second century. Notwithstanding the great accolades bestowed on him by Eusebius, Saint Jerome, and others, including the historian Theodoret, little has survived over the centuries of his writings, treatises against the heresies of his time, as Saint Jerome testifies in his own writings.

However, one of the historical elements which has survived and for which he received much notoriety is his apology, his defense of the Christian faith which he addressed to the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius about the year 175. This was spoken soon after the miraculous victory the emperor had obtained over his enemies. Bishop 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 and year of Saint Apollinaris’ death is not known, but is believed to be before the death of Marcus Aurelius in the year 180.

We commemorate the feastday of Saint Apollinaris on January 8.

(From the saints.sqpn.com, catholicculture.org, newadvent.org, sacred-texts.com, catholic-saints.info and magnificat.ca)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Pastors ~ bishop)

“Lord God, You counted Saint Apollinaris among Your holy pastors, renowned for faith and love which conquered evil in this world. By the help of his prayers, keep us strong in faith and love, and let us come to share his glory.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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