Apollinaris of Valence

Saint Apollinaris of Valence (also known as Aplonay) (453–520), born in Vienne, France, was bishop of Valence, France, at the time of the irruption of the barbarians. Valence, which was the central see of the recently founded Kingdom of the Burgundians, had been scandalized by the dissolute Bishop Maximus, and the see in consequence had been vacant for fifty years.

Saint Apollinaris (of Valence)
Bornc. 453
Diedc. 520
Venerated inRoman Catholic Church
Major shrineValence Cathedral, Valence, Drôme, France


Apollinaris was of a family of nobles and saints; his father was Hesychius, bishop of Vienne,[1] where episcopal honors were informally hereditary,[2] and where his brother Avitus would also serve as bishop. [3] His paternal grandfather was an unknown western emperor of Rome. He was a cousin of Tonantius Ferreolus, whom he visited in 517.

Apollinaris was little over twenty when he was ordained a priest. In 486, when he was thirty-three years old, he was made bishop of the long-vacant See of Valence, and under his care abuses were corrected and morals reformed, restoring its previous stature. Bishop Apollinaris was so beloved that the news of his first illness filled the city with consternation. He attended a conference at Lyon, between the Arians and Catholics, held in presence of King Gundobad, where he distinguished himself by his eloquence and learning.[4]

A contestation in defence of marriage brought Apollinaris again into 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 King Sigismund, 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, whose defiance had made him particularly obnoxious to the King, and was kept a close prisoner for a year. At last the King, stricken with a severe illness, 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, and the King recovered.[3] Apollinaris was sixty-four years old when he returned from Sardinia to Valence, and his people received him with joy. He died after an episcopate of thirty-four years, at the age of sixty-seven.[4] (In due course, King Sigismund also achieved sainthood.)

Valence Cathedral is dedicated to him. His relics were cast into the Rhone by the Huguenots in the sixteenth century.


  1. ^ The Prosopography of the Later Roman Empire, s.v. "Hesychius 11"; "Er wurde 494 Nachfolger seines Vaters auf dem Bischofsstuhl von Vienne" Cf. Friedrich Wilhelm Bautz (1975). "Avitus, Alcimus Ecdicius, Bischof von Vienne (Burgund)". In Bautz, Friedrich Wilhelm (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). Vol. 1. Hamm: Bautz. col. 311. ISBN 3-88309-013-1.;
  2. ^ "a prominent Gallo-Roman family closely related to the Emperor Avitus and other illustrious persons, and in which episcopal honors were hereditary. (Catholic Encyclopedia, s.v. "Avitus of Vienne").
  3. ^ a b "Monks of Ramsgate. "Apollinaris". Book of Saints, 1921. CatholicSaints.Info. 25 July 2012". Archived from the original on 3 January 2020. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  4. ^ a b Campbell, Thomas. "St. Apollinaris." The Catholic Encyclopedia Archived 2018-06-29 at the Wayback Machine Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907. 16 October 2017

  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainCampbell, Thomas Joseph (1907). "St. Apollinaris (2)". In Herbermann, Charles (ed.). Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 1. New York: Robert Appleton Company.