Monday, February 8, 2016

Saint of the Month: St. Apollonia

The Martyrdom of St. Apollonia, Jacob Jordaens, 1628

St. Apollonia

AKA: Saint Apollonia of Alexandria
Feast Day: February 9.
Not to be confused with: Saint Leucio of Apollonia,Saint Tirso of Apollonia,Saint Isaurus of Apollonia,Saint Innocent of Apollonia, Saint Felix of Apollonia, Saint Jeremias of Apollonia, Saint Peregrinus of Apollonia

Really Existed? Very probably.
Timeframe: Third Century.
Place: Alexandria, Egypt.

Credentials: Venerated by tradition.
Martyrdom: Tortured, burned alive.

Patron Saint of: Dentists, people suffering from toothache and dental problems.
Symbolism: Teeth, pincers, a palm branch.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Apollonia.

Q: Then why are you talking about her today, instead of tomorrow?

A: Because I lost track of what day it was.  Shut up.

Q: How do you know that tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Apollonia?

A: That's better.  I know because it's the entry for February 9th in the Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a recent gift from the fabulous Mrs.5000.

At 625 pages long, it is really not especially "little."  It was published in 1878 and got a special shout-out from Pope Leo XIII in 1879; my copy shows a copyright renewal in 1894 and was inscribed by "Virginia Wright Wall" in 1955. 

Sometimes I regret living in a time when we are expected to show so
much restraint in our use of fonts.
It takes a lot of text from Butler, the wonderfully earnest and turgid eighteenth century hagiographer, and this makes it very retro and awesome in a dusty sort of way.  It is also matter-of-factly gruesome, and often a bit glib about how much fun it is to be a martyr.

Obviously, Little Pictorial Lives immediately becomes the prize of my little hagiographic library.  To celebrate, we will let it tell us about St. Apollonia in its own words!  I'll just add for context that the kernel of Apollonia's story comes from a letter written at the time by the Bishop of Alexandria, so we're pretty sure that she was a real person who met a real unpleasant fate.  Parental Advisory: This saint's life depicts violence and disturbing images.

I predict that Dr. Noisewater will make a reference to Apollonia 6 reference in the comments.


Jennifer said...

I'm confused about why her Feast Day is March 17 if her Feast is Feb. 9.

Michael5000 said...

That would be what we professionals call a "typographical error," now corrected.