St Apollonius: layman, apologist and martyr (April 18)

From the martyrology:

"At Rome, blessed Apollonius, a senator under Emperor Commodus and the prefect Perennius. He was denounced as a Christian by one of his slaves, and being commanded to give an account of his faith, he composed an able work which he read in the Senate. He was nevertheless beheaded for Christ by their sentence."


There are a number of surviving early accounts of St Apollonius (d. 185). 

A Roman senator, he was well versed in philosophy. After he was denounced as a Christian, he read to the senate, according to Saint Jerome, "a remarkable volume" in which he defended the Christian faith. As a result, he was condemned to death on the basis of the law established by the Emperor Trajan.


The sources say he was subjected to two investigations, the first by the Prefect Perennius, the second, three days later, by a group of senators and jurists. The hearings were conducted in a calm and courteous manner. Apollonius was permitted to speak with only rare interruptions, aimed at getting him to tone down his remarks, which were making him liable to punishment.

Apollonius was not afraid to die, because, he said: "There is waiting for me something better: eternal life, given to the person who has lived well on earth."

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