January 4, 2018

Synaxarion of Saint Apollinaria the Syncletike

St. Apollinaria the Syncletike (Feast Day - January 4)


Apollinaria was taken up from the earth,
And worthily dwells in the heavens.

The renowned Apollinaria lived during the reign of Leo the Great (‎457–474), also called Makellis, and was the daughter of Anthemios, who was appointed by the emperor to be the governor of Rome. Due to her beauty and prudence, she exceeded most other women of that time. From a young age she desired to live a life of virginity, and she entreated God night and day to attain what she longed for, which was to be a virgin till death. For this reason she entreated her parents to go to Jerusalem. Because they granted her permission, the blessed one took with her male-servants and female-servants, as well as gold and silver and expensive clothes, and went to the Holy City. There she distributed everything to the poor. Having venerated the Holy Places, and liberated her male-servants and female-servants, she kept with her only one elder and one eunuch. With them, she went to Alexandria. Arriving there at a level and even place, she decided to sit there, to rest a little from her weary journey.

When those who were with her fell asleep, then the thrice-blessed one abandoned everything, and leaving secretly she entered the marsh found there. There she lived many years, to the point where the skin of her body hardened, like the shell of a tortoise, due to the bites of mosquitos found in the marsh. She then went to a skete, where there were many holy fathers, and there she pretended to be a eunuch, and took the name Dorotheos. The Venerable Makarios was there, and he received her, giving her a cell in which the thrice-blessed one shut herself, praying to God night and day.

Now her father Anthemios had another daughter, who suffered with an unclean demon. He therefore sent her to the fathers of the skete to heal her. As for his daughter Apollinaria, he had grown quite weary of seeking for her, and no longer searched for her. The fathers sent the demonized girl to her sister, who answered to the name of Dorotheos, as we said above. Within a few days the girl was liberated from the demon and the fathers sent her back to her father healthy. After a few days the maiden appeared to be pregnant. The father, thinking that Abba Dorotheos impregnated her, immediately sent for him, and brought him before him.

Through certain signs the Saint showed that she was the child and daughter of Anthemios, making everyone amazed and afraid, as well as by the miracle she performed for her own sister. After these things she remained with her parents for a few days, and returned again to her cell, without anyone learning what she did. Having died, the monks came to realize she was a woman. They were all astonished by this, and were moved to thank God.