Wednesday, July 20, 2011

St. Apollinaris

During my Italian sojourn, I had the chance to visit the two basilicas in and around Ravenna that are dedicated to the memory of "Sant'Apollinare."  He may not be very widely know (his feast was only recently restored to the universal calendar), but he sure has some mighty beautiful churches!

A native of Antioch (Turkey) and disciple of St. Peter the Apostle, Apollinarius was the first bishop of Ravenna (Italy) and is believed to have been martyred on July 23, 79 AD.

"It is not death as much as faith and dedication that make one a martyr; and just as it is a mark of virtue to fall in battle, in conflict, for the love of the king, so it is a mark of perfect virtue to engage in combat for a long time and to bring it to its conclusion.  Therefore, the enemy did not make him a martyr, since he did not inflict death, but he proved him to be a martyr, because he did not remove his faith."

--from a sermon by St. Peter Chrysologus (380-450) on the feast of St. Apollinaris

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