Saint Apollinare of Ravenna, Bishop and Martyr
ca. II-III century
Saint Apollinare, a native of Antioch, became a Bishop in the imperial city of Ravenna, perhaps instructed by the apostle St. Peter, of whom we’re told he was a disciple. He devoted himself to the work of evangelization of the Emilia-Romagna, finally to die as a martyr. The Basilica of Saint Apollinare in Class and Saint Apollinare’s New Basilica have passed to memories. His cult spread quickly, however, beyond the city limits. The pontiffs Simmaco (498-514) and Honorius I (625-638) promoted its to Rome, while the ex-king Clovis dedicated a church to him at Dijon. In Germany,his cult was probably spread by the Benedictine monasteries, and Camaldolese Avellana. A church was also dedicated to him in Bologna in the Palazzo del Podestà, but since it was demolished in 1250, Cardinal Lambertini dedicated an altar in the cathedral town. Saint Apollinare is considered the patron saint of the city where he was the first pastor, and the region Emilia-Romagna.
Roman Martyrology: Sant’Apollinare, bishop, who, among the nations to know the unfathomable riches of Christ, preceded as a good shepherd his flock, honoring the Class at the Church of Ravenna in Emilia Romagna with his glorious martyrdom.
Sant’Apollinare, protovescovo of Ravenna and the first evangelization of Emilia-Romagna, lived at the time of Byzantine Empire in the West, is placed roughly between the end of the second and early third century. According to tradition Apollinare came from Antioch and was indeed a disciple of Saint Peter. He was the first Bishop in the imperial city of Ravenna. This tradition began in the seventh century and is not historically documented, especially by contrast with the likely dates set out above. It seems that dates back to the time of Archbishop Mauro (642-671), of which almost certainly he was the author, perhaps to give greater prestige to the local Church of this city that was beginning to assume increasing importance.
Since the early days Apollinare was certainly venerated as a martyr, as the bishop said Ravenna San Pier Chrysologus in his sermon, and his worship was very widespread, although not many details about his life or his death are reliable.
Mentioned for the first time in the Geromini Martyrology of the fifth century on July 23 as a “confessor” and “priest”, even today in the Martyrologium Romanum commemorates that anniversary, although the memorial is brought forward by three days. When, after the Jubilee of 2000, Pope John Paul II wanted to restore the liturgical calendar of the Latin Church the memory of optional Saint Apollinare, had to choose the date of July 20 to avoid overlapping with other mandatory memorials.
The magnificent Basilica of Sant’Apollinare in Classe, near Ravenna, was consecrated in 549: guarded the tomb of the saint and a precious mosaic depicts the time in dell’abside. In the eighth century the ancient basilica of St. Martin in Ciel d’Oro was restored and renamed New Sant’Apollinare in order to become a new center of worship to the holy tributato protovescovo.
Source: Santi e Beati