Religion: Dentists' Saint

In the Third Century, Bishop Dionysius of Alexandria, Egypt wrote to a colleague: "Apollonia the parthenos presbytis [elderly virgin] was held in high esteem. These men seized her . . . and by repeated blows broke all her teeth. They then erected outside the city gates a pile of fagots and threatened to burn her alive if she refused to repeat after them impious words. Given, at her own request, a little freedom, she sprang quickly into the fire and was burned to death."

For her Christian sufferings Apollonia was sainted. Still popular,...

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