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St. Apollinaris

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The most illustrious of the Bishops of Valence, b. at Vienne, 453; d. 520. He lived in the time of the irruption of the barbarians, and unhappily Valence, which was the central see of the recently founded Kingdom of Burgundy, had been scandalized by the dissolute Bishop Maximus, and the see in consequence had been vacant for fifty years. Apollinaris was of a family of nobles and saints. He was little over twenty when he was ordained priest. In 486, when he was thirty-three years old, he was made Bishop of the long vacant See of Valence , and under his zealous care it soon recovered its ancient glory. Abuses were corrected and morals reformed. The Bishop was so beloved that the news of his first illness filled the city with consternation. His return to health was miraculous. He was present at the conference at Lyons, between the Arians and Catholics, which was held in presence of King Gondebaud. He distinguished himself there by his eloquence and learning.

A memorable contest in defence of marriage brought Apollinaris again into special prominence. Stephen, the treasurer of the kingdom, was living in incest. The four bishops of the province commanded him to separate from his companion, but he appealed to the King, who sustained his official and exiled the four bishops to Sardinia. As they refused to yield, the King relented, and after some time permitted them to return to their sees, with the exception of Apollinaris, who had rendered himself particularly obnoxious, and was kept a close prisoner for a year. At last the King, stricken with a grievous malady, repented, and the Queen in person came to beg Apollinaris to go to the court to restore the monarch to health. On his refusal, the Queen asked for his cloak to place on the sufferer. The request was granted, the King was cured, and came to beg absolution for his sin. Apollinaris was sixty-four years old when he returned from Sardinia to Valence, and his people received him with every demonstration of joy. He died after an episcopate of thirty-four years, at the age of sixty-seven, his life ending, as it had begun, in the constant exercise of the most exalted holiness.


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