Apollonius of Alexandria

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The Holy Martyr Apollonius of Alexandria was one of a group of four martyrs that included Philemon, Arianus, and Theotychus who suffered for the Faith at the city of Antinoe in Egypt during the reign of emperor Diocletian in the late third century. The feast day for St. Apollonius, as well as for the other martyrs is December 14.


During the persecutions under emperor Diocletian the Christians were forced to offer sacrifices to the idols of the Roman gods. When Apollonius was faced with the pain he felt in performing the sacrifice, he approached the musician Philemon, who was with a pagan group, to change clothes with him and offer sacrifice to the idols in his place. But, unexpectedly Philemon confessed himself a Christian in front of the pagans. With Philemon's confession, Apollonius repented and also confessed Christ.

After being tortured, the two martyrs were executed. The body of St. Philemon was hung upon an olive tree, and arrows were shot at him. One arrow struck the prefect Arianus in his eye, destroying it. When he applied dirt taken from Philemon's grave Arianus' injured eye was healed. He then repented and became a convert to the Christian Faith. He was then baptized together with all his household and bodyguards, among them Theotychus who was the eldest of the guards.

Out of love for Christ, the martyrs Arianus and Theotychus also refused to sacrifice and voluntarily submitted to torture, after which they were sentenced to death.

The martyrs Philemon and Apollonius died on March 16, 286, and the martyrs Arianus and Theotychus followed a year later on March 4, 287.