Saturday, October 16, 2021

Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna – Feast Day – July 20

Saint Apollinaris was made the first bishop of Ravenna by Saint Peter himself. He was born in Antioch, Syria, now in modern-day Turkey, and died on July 23 79 AD in Ravenna, Italy as a martyr. He was a miracle worker and a great preacher who won the hearts of many people in Ravenna to the chagrin of the government officials and pagans of that time. His feast day is celebrated on July 20 in the Catholic Church.

Saint Apollinaris of Ravenna Biography
Saint Apollinaris
Date of Birth 1st-century
Place of Birth Antioch, Syria, now in modern-day Turkey
Profession Bishop of Ravenna
Place of Work Ravenna, Italy
Date of Death July 23 79 AD
Place of Death Ravenna, Italy
Feast Day  July 20
Canonization Pre-congregation
Patron Saint of
  • Remagen, Germany
  • Ravenna, Italy
  • Emilia-Romagna region in Italy
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Burtscheid, Germany
  • Bucine, Italy
  • Archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia, Italy
  • Against gout
  • Against epilepsy
  • Against diseases of the sexual organs
  • Aachen, Germany

Saint Apollinaris Life History

St Apollinaris was born in Antioch in the Roman Province of Syria, now in modern-day Turkey. When St Peter was in Antioch he appointed Apollinaris as the first Bishop of Ravenna. While in Ravenna, he performed many miracles and preached the Gospel in a great way to the people and this did not go down well with the local pagans and government officials. He was beaten and chased away from the city but he bravely returned.

For a second time, he was arrested again and tortured by being compelled to walk on hot coals and later expelled again from Ravenna. He returned again for the third time but was captured again pierced with knives, hot water was poured over his wounds, his mouth was stoned in order to disable him from preaching again and later thrown into a hole to starve to death. But after four days, he was loaded on a ship and exiled to Greece.

He preached and worked miracles in Greece but after cruel beatings, he was exiled again to Ravenna, Italy when Emperor Vespasian was in reign. The pagans complained to the emperor, who thereafter decreed that the Christians be banished from Ravenna.

While the Christians were leaving the city, St Apollinaris was identified and arrested as their leader. He was taken to Classis, a suburb four miles from Ravenna, tortured and pierced with a sword. Seven days later he died from his wounds. He was Bishop of Ravenna for twenty-six years. Saint Romuald would say that St Apollinaris appeared to him in a vision many centuries later.

Feast Day

Initially, his feast day was celebrated on July 23, the day he died as a martyr. Since Saint Bridget of Sweden is more renowned in the west than St Apollinaris, his feast day was slotted for July 20. In 1969, his feast day was removed from the General Roman Calendar due to little knowledge about him, but in 2002, it was returned as an optional memorial on July 20 but in Port of Classe, Ravenna, Italy, they still celebrate on July 23.

Relics

The relics of Saint Apollinaris are interred at the Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Italy, the Benedictine Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, Italy and in Saint Lambert’s church, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Saint Apollinaris is the Patron Saint of

  • Remagen, Germany
  • Ravenna, Italy
  • Emilia-Romagna region in Italy
  • Dusseldorf, Germany
  • Burtscheid, Germany
  • Bucine, Italy
  • Archdiocese of Ravenna-Cervia, Italy
  • Against gout
  • Against epilepsy
  • Against diseases of the sexual organs
  • Aachen, Germany

Churches Dedicated to Saint Apollinaris

  • The Basilica of Sant’ Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, Italy
  • St Apollinaris Catholic Church in Napa, California
  • The Apollinariskirche Catholic Church on the Apollinarisberg hill, Remagen, Germany
  • St. Apollinaris Catholic Parish in Düsseldorf, Germany
  • The Church of St. Apollinaire – Catholic Church in Prague, Czechia
Saint Apollinaris
Saint Apollinaris

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