Dictionary of Christian Biography and Literature to the End of the Sixth Century/Apollinaris, St. and martyr
Apollinaris, St. and Mart., first bp. or archbp. of Ravenna, perhaps from 50‒78. According to the Life written by Agnellus in 9th cent. (Liber Pontificalis, ap. Muratori, Rer. It. Script. ii. part i.), St. Apollinaris was a native of Antioch, well instructed in Gk. and Lat. literature, who followed St. Peter to Rome, and was sent by him to Ravenna. On his way he healed the son of Irenaeus who was blind, and did other miracles. At Ravenna he baptized in the river Bidens, and raised the daughter of the patrician Rufus to life; imprisoned by the heathen near the capitol, he was there fed by angels. Afterwards, being expelled from the city, he preached in Dalmatia, Pannonia, Thrace, and Corinth. After three years he returned, suffered new persecutions, and did new miracles, destroying a statue and temple of Apollo by his prayers. He was martyred under Vespasian, after an episcopate of over 28 years.
Other lives, such as that in the Acta Sanctorum, are more full of miracles, but do not add anything else of importance. The day of his death is agreed upon as July 23; the year may have been 78. From a sermon of St. Peter Chrysologus in 5th cent. (No. 128, pp. 552 seq. ed. Migne), it appears that St. Apollinaris was the only bp. of Ravenna who suffered martyrdom, and that he, strictly speaking, can only be called a confessor. He did not die, it would seem, a violent death, though it may have been hastened by the persecutions he underwent. Probably, like his successor Aderitus, he died in the port town Classis, where he was buried. A new church, still existing, was built about the same time as that of St. Vitale, and into this his body was translated by St. Maximianus c. 552. The mosaic over the apse seems to realize the words of St. Peter Chrysologus (u.s.), "Ecce vivit, ecce ut bonus pastor suo medius assistit in grege." As early as 575 it was the custom to take solemn oaths upon his relics (St. Greg. Magn. Ep. vi. 61). His body was taken to Ravenna in 1515 for safety, but restored in 1655 (see authorities in Acta Sanctor. for July 23). This most interesting basilica, with the vacant monastery adjoining, is now the only remnant of the town of Classis.