Butler’s Lives of the Saints – Saints Apollonius, Philemon, etc., Martyrs

illustration of Saint Apollonius of Antinoë, image courtesy of the Digital Image Archive, Pitts Theology Library, Candler School of Theology, Emory UniversityArticle

Apollonius was a zealous holy anchoret, and was apprehended by the persecutors at Antinous in Egypt. Many heathens came to insult and affront him while in chains; and among others one Philemon, a musician, very famous, and much admired by the people. He treated the martyr as an impious person and a seducer, and one that deserved the public hatred. To his injuries the saint only answered, “My son, may God have mercy on thee, and not lay these reproaches to thy charge.” This his meekness wrought so powerfully on Philemon, that he forthwith confessed himself a Christian. Both were brought before the judge whom Metaphrastes and Usuard call Arian, and who had already put to death Saints Asclas, Timothy, Paphnutius, and several other martyrs: after making them suffer all manner of tortures, he condemned them to be burnt alive. When the fire was kindled about them, Apollonius prayed: “Lord, deliver not to beasts the souls who confess thee; but manifest thy power.” At that instant a cloud of dew encompassed the martyrs, and put out the fire. The judge and people cried out at this miracle: “The God of the Christian is the great and only God.” The prefect of Egypt being informed of it, caused the judge and the two confessors to be brought, loaded with irons, to Alexandria. During the journey, Apollonius, by his instructions, prevailed so far upon those who conducted him, that they presented themselves also to the judge with their prisoners, and confessed themselves likewise to be Christians. The prefect finding their constancy invincible, caused them all to be thrown into the sea, about the year 311. Their bodies were afterwards found on the shore, and were all put into one sepulchre. “By whom,” says Rufinus, “many miracles are wrought to the present time, and the vows and prayers of all are received, and are accomplished. Hither the Lord was pleased to bring me, and to fulfil my requests.”

MLA Citation

  • Father Alban Butler. “Saints Apollonius, Philemon, etc., Martyrs”. Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Principal Saints, 1866. CatholicSaints.Info. 29 December 2016. Web. 27 September 2021. <>