This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

April 2 -- Feast of Saint Apphianhus

Students throughout the United States got letters last week indicating the status of their applications  to colleges.  Or rather, they signed into their accounts in the admissions offices and clicked the Check Status button.  As they now weigh their options, agonizing over a decision that may have less consequence than they believe, I would like to nominate Saint Apphianus as the patron of college admissions. 

Apphianus was a Christian in the early fourth century, a perilous thing to be given that it was the height of the Great Persecution ordered by Diocletian and the rest of the Tetrarchy.  Our young saint applied for admission to the University of Berytus (Beirut), but was denied on religious grounds.  He found a private tutor in Caesarea, steeped himself in Christian theology, and then interrupted the praefect named Urbanus (or perhaps he was just the praefect urbanis, i.e. the praefect of the city) as he was conducting a sacrifice.  Having grabbed the man's hand and begun to inveigh against polytheism, Apphianus was seized by the mob and beaten.
College Admissions Patron

Order was restored by soldiers, who hauled the young saint off to jail.  On the next day, he was questioned, beaten with rods, burned, and then thrown into the sea with a stone tied around his neck.  An earthquake tossed his body back on shore, confirming his sainted status and giving the locals some relics to hang onto. 

The day of college admissions is a good one for those "road not taken" reflections.  What if Hitler had been accepted to art school?  What if Harvard had recognized your creative genius when you filled out the application with red crayon?  [You even found the crimson crayon instead of just red, scarlet, and cardinal.]  What if Apphianus had been admitted to Beriut U?  Would he have read Cicero's De Rerum Deorum and moderated his zeal? Or maybe developed a passion for beer-pong and lost his faith altogether? 

We'll never know.  All we can do is make the best call we can and then we make the most of our opportunities.   I guess Apphianus made much of his; otherwise, I wouldn't have written about him and you wouldn't be reading this. 

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