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Apollonia, a deaconess and a holy virgin who suffered martyrdom in
Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians (end of 248,
or beginning of 249). During some festivities the agitation of the populace
rose to a great level, and when one of their poets prophesied a calamity,
they began massacres of the Christians whom the authorities made no effort
to protect. The great Dionysius, then Bishop of Alexandria (247-265), relating
the sufferings of his people in a letter addressed to Fabius, Bishop of
Antioch, wrote about Apollonia: “These men seized her also and by repeated
blows broke all her teeth. They then erected a pile of fagots outside the
city gates and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat impious
words after them (either a blasphemy against Christ, or an invocation of
the heathen gods). Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang
quickly into the fire and was burned to death.”
St. Apollonia's cult was popular in the early centuries of Christianity
in the West, but there was no cult in the East.
Feast day: 9 February.
See: Rogier van der Weyden St.
Margaret and St. Apollonia.
Francisco de Zurbarán St.
Oxford Dictionary of Saints (Oxford Paperback Reference) by
David Hugh Farmer. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Golden Legend by Jacobus De Voragine, William Granger Ryan
(Translator). Princeton Univ Pr, 1995.