Chapter 97 of the Golden Legend by Jacobus Voragine (1275), translated by William Caxton, 1483. This "reader's version" of the text provides section headings, paragraph breaks, and explanatory notes.

Appollinaris was disciple of St. Peter the apostle, and of by him he was sent to Ravenna from Rome, and there he healed the wife of the tribune and judge of the town, and baptized her with her husband and household; which thing was told and showed to the provost, and anon he did do arrest Appollinaris and led him to the temple of Jupiter for to do sacrifice to him. And he said to the priests of the idols that the gold and silver that was set about the idols had been better to have been given to poor men than to be given to devils. And then he was anon immediately taken and beaten sore with staves staffs, sticks that he was left half dead, but he was taken up of by his disciples and brought into the house of a widow, and there was kept and refreshed seven months.

Apollinaris Heals the Dumb Man

From thence he came to the city of Clacense, Classe (near Ravenna, Italy) and there he healed a nobleman which was dumb. And as he entered into a house, there was a maid which had an unclean spirit within her, which crying said: Go from hence, thou servant of God, or I shall make thee to be bounden, hands and feet, and to be drawn out of the city. Whom anon Appollinaris rebuked, and constrained the spirit to go out and depart from the maid. Then, when he had thus called the name of our Lord upon the dumb man, and had so cured him, and delivered the maid of the wicked spirit, more than five hundred men believed in our Lord Jesu Christ.

The paynims pagans then beat him with staves and forbade him that he should not name the name of Jesu Christ. He then lying on the earth cried, and saying that Jesus was very God. Then they made him to stand barefoot upon burning coals, and yet always he preached constantly the law of Christ. And then they seeing that he would not cease, drove him out of the city.

He Raises the Daughter of the Duke of Ravenna

That time Rufus Patricius, duke of the city of Ravenna, had a daughter sick, and did call Appollinaris to heal her. And as soon as Appollinaris entered into the house his daughter died. To whom Rufus said: Would God thou hadst not entered into my house, for the great gods be wroth angry, wrathful therefore, and would not heal my daughter, what mayst thou do to her?

To whom Appollinaris said: Be thou not afraid, but promise to me that if the maid arise thou shalt not forbid her to follow her Maker.

Which when he had promised he made his prayer, and anon the maid arose, and acknowledged the name of Christ, and was baptized, with her mother and a great multitude of people. And she abode a virgin.

The Torture and Martyrdom of St. Apollinaris

And when Cæsar heard hereof he wrote to the provost of the prætorium that he should make Appollinaris to do sacrifice, or to put him in exile. The provost then seeing that he would do no sacrifice, commanded that he should be beaten with staves and to be tormented on the gallows, whereas he always most constantly preached the name of our Lord. Then he commanded to cast hot scalding water in his fresh wounds, and he, sore bounden with great weight of iron, should have been sent into exile.

That seeing the Christians, and so great felony done to him, were moved in their courage, hearts and ran upon the paynims, and of them slew more than two hundred. And when the provost saw that, he hid himself, and commanded Appollinaris into a straight and hard prison, and after, bound him sore with chains, and set him in a ship with three clerks following him, and so sent him forth in exile, where only he, with two clerks and two knights escaped the peril of the tempest, and those knights he baptized.

After this he returned again to Ravenna, and was taken of the paynims, and led to the temple of Jupiter, whose simulachre image when he saw it, he cursed it. And suddenly it fell down, and when the bishops saw that, they presented him to Thaurus the judge, whose son, which was blind, St. Appollinaris made to see. And when the judge saw that, he believed on him and made him to dwell four years with him in his house.

After this, when the bishops had accused him to Vespasian, Vespasian commanded whosoever did any wrong to the gods, he should do satisfaction or to be driven from the city. It is not rightful, said he, that we should avenge the gods, but they themselves may avenge them of their enemies if they be wroth. Then Demosthenes Patricius, seeing that he would do no sacrifice, delivered him unto a centurion, then being Christian, by whose prayer he went into the street of lepers, and that he should do there hide him from the woodness madness, fury of the paynims.

But the people followed him and beat him unto the death, where he abode and lived by the space after of eight days, and preached to his disciples, and then gave up his spirit unto our Lord and died, and there was honourably buried, about the year of our Lord seventy, under Vespasian.

St. Ambrose's Comments on St. Apollinaris

Of this martyr saith St. Ambrose in his preface: Appollinaris, most worthy bishop, was sent from Peter, prince of the apostles, to Ravenna, for to show the name of Jesu unto the paynims, who did marvellous signs of virtues to them that believe in Christ, and was all to-rent ripped up and torn with wood beatings of the wicked paynims. And because the Christian men should not doubt, fear he did and performed marvels like to the apostles. After his torments he raised a maid from death to life. To blind men he gave sight, and to a dumb man he restored his speech; one that was vexed with a devil he delivered; he cleansed a leper, he healed the members broken with a pestilent sickness of another. The simulachre of the god Jupiter, with the temple, he overthrew. O most worthy bishop of marvellous praising, thou deservedst the power and dignity of the apostle. O most strong champion of our Lord, which in thine old age constantly preachedst our Lord Jesu Christ redeemer of the world.

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St. Apollinaris as pictured at Sant'Apollinaris in Clase. (See the description page for this image and the page explaining the iconography of images of this saint.)

Appollinaris is said of pollens, that is, shining, and ares, that is virtue. That is to say, shining in virtues. Or it is said of pollo, which is as much to say as marvellous, and naris, that is, by discretion, as who saith, he was a man of marvellous discretion. Or he is said of A, that is, without, and polluo and ares, that is to say, virtuous without pollution of vices.

This text was taken from the Internet Medieval Source Book. E-text © by Paul Halsall. Annotations, formatting, and added rubrics by Richard Stracke. The drop initial (first letter of the text) is from the Isabella Capitals font by John Stracke. Permission is granted for electronic copying, distribution in print form for educational purposes and personal use. If you do reduplicate the document, indicate the sources. No permission is granted for commercial use.