Saint of the Day – 9 February – St Apollonia of Alexandria (Died c 249) Consecrated Virgin Martyr, Deaconess – who was one of a group of virgin martyrs who suffered in Alexandria during a local uprising against the Christians prior to the persecution of Decius. According to church tradition, her torture included having all of her teeth violently pulled out or shattered. For this reason, she is popularly regarded as the patroness of dentistry and those suffering from toothache or other dental problems. French court painter Jehan Fouquet painted the scene of St Apollonia’s torture in The Martyrdom of St Apollonia. Patronages – against tooth disease and toothache, of dental technicians, dentists, 3 Cities.
At Alexandria, in 249, the mob rose in savage fury against the Christians. Metras, an old man, perished first. His eyes were pierced with reeds and he was stoned to death. A woman named Quinta was the next victim. She was led to a heathen temple and bidden worship. She replied by cursing the false god again and again and she too was stoned to death. After this the houses of the Christians were sacked and plundered. They took the spoiling of their goods with all joy.
St Apollonia, an consecrated virgin and Deaconess, was the most famous among the martyrs. Her teeth were beaten out, she was led outside the city, a huge fire was kindled and she was told she must deny Christ, or else be burned alive. She was silent for a while and then, moved by a special inspiration of the Holy Spirit, she leapt into the fire and died in its flames.
There were indeed many Christians who came, pale and trembling, to offer the heathen sacrifices. But the judges themselves were struck with horror at the multitudes who rushed to martyrdom. Women triumphed over torture, till at last the judges were glad to execute them at once and put an end to the ignominy of their own defeat.
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