Hieromartyr Apollinarius, Bishop of Ravenna: During the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius (41-54), the holy Apostle Peter came to Rome from Antioch, and he ordained Apollinarius, who had come with him, to be Bishop of Ravenna. Arriving in Ravenna as a stranger, St Apollinarius asked shelter of a local inhabitant, the soldier Irenaeus, and in conversation with him revealed for what purpose he had come.
Irenaeus had a blind son, whom St Apollinarius healed, having turned to the Lord with prayer. The soldier Irenaeus and his family were the first in Ravenna to believe in Christ. The saint stayed at the house of Irenaeus and preached about Christ to everyone wanting to hear what he said. One of the miracles performed by St Apollinarius was the healing of Thekla, the incurably sick wife of the Ravenna tribune. She arose from her bed completely healthy, through the prayers of the saint. Not only did she believe in Christ, but so did the tribune. At the house of the tribune St Apollinarius constructed a small church, where he celebrated Divine Liturgy. St Apollinarius ordained two presbyters, Aderetus and Calocyrus, and also two deacons for the newly-baptized people of Ravenna.
St Apollinarius preached the Gospel at Ravenna for twelve years, and the number of Christians steadily increased. Pagan priests complained about the bishop to the governor Saturninus. St Apollinarius was brought to trial and subjected to grievous tortures. Thinking that he had died, the torturers took him out of the city to the seacoast and threw him into the water. The saint, however, was alive. A certain pious Christian widow helped him and gave him shelter in her home. St Apollinarius stayed at her home for six months, and continued secretly to preach about Christ. The saint's whereabouts became known when he restored the power of speech to an illustrious resident of the city named Boniface, whose wife requested the saint to help her husband.
After this miracle many pagans were converted to Christ, and they again brought St Apollinarius to trial and tortured him, setting his bare feet on red-hot coals. They removed him from the city a second time, but the Lord again kept him alive. The saint did not cease preaching until they expelled him from the city. For a certain time St Apollinarius found himself elsewhere in Italy, where he continued to preach the Gospel as before. Returning to Ravenna to his flock, St Apollinarius again went on trial and was sentenced to banishment.
In heavy fetters, he was put on a ship sailing to Illyrica to the River Danube. Two soldiers were responsible for conveying him to his place of exile. Three of the clergy voluntarily followed their bishop into exile. Along the way the vessel was wrecked and everyone drowned, except for St Apollinarius, his clergy and the two soldiers. The soldiers, listening to St Apollinarius, believed in the Lord and accepted Baptism. Not finding any shelter, the travellers came to Mycea, where St Apollinarius healed a certain illustrious inhabitant from leprosy, and for which both he and his companions received shelter at his home. In this land St Apollinarius preached tirelessly about Christ and he converted many of the pagans to Christianity, for which he was subjected to persecution on the part of unbelievers. They beat up the saint mercilessly, and placing him on a ship sailing for Italy, they sent him back.
After a three year absence, St Apollinarius returned to Ravenna and was joyfully received by his flock. The pagans, however, having fallen upon the church where the saint served the Divine Liturgy, scattered those at prayer, and dragged the saint to the idolatrous priests in the pagan temple of Apollo, where the idol fell just as they brought the saint in, and it shattered. The pagan priests brought St Apollinarius for trial to Taurus, the new governor of the district. Apollinarius performed a new miracle, healing the son of the governor, who had been blind from birth. In gratitude for the healing of his son, Taurus tried to protect St Apollinarius from the angry crowd. He sent him to his own estate outside the city. Although the son and wife of Taurus were baptized, he feared the anger of the emperor, and did not accept Baptism. However, he conducted himself with gratitude and love towards his benefactor.
St Apollinarius lived for five years at the estate of Taurus and preached without hindrance about salvation. During this time pagan priests sent letters of denunciation to the emperor Vespasian with a request for a sentence of death or exile of the Christian "sorcerer" Apollinarius. But the emperor told the pagan priests that the gods were sufficiently powerful to take revenge for themselves, if they felt themselves insulted. All the wrath of the pagans fell upon St Apollinarius: they caught hold of him when the saint left the city for a nearby settlement, and they beat him fiercely. Christians found him barely alive and took him to the settlement, where he lived for seven days. During his final illness the saint did not cease to teach his flock. He predicted that after the persecutions ended, Christians would enter upon better times when they could openly and freely confess their faith. Having given those present his archpastoral blessing, the hieromartyr Apollinarius fell asleep in the Lord. St Apollinarius was Bishop of Ravenna for twenty-eight years and he died in the year 75.