Why is Saint Apollonia the patron saint of dentists?

Today, 9 February, marks the day of Saint ApolloniaThe patron saint of dentistry, and at Vélez & Lozano we have celebrated it over the years in many different ways. different ways. That is why, this year, taking advantage of the fact that it coincides with the weekly publication of our blog, we have decided to tell you her story and why she has ended up being popularly recognised as the patron saint of the profession.

As Dionysius, bishop of Alexandria between 247 and 265, recounts during the festivities to commemorate the millennium of the foundation of Rome, in the last years of the rule of Philip 'the Arab', the persecution and anger against Christians by the people of Alexandria reached serious heights of cruelty. One of these parishioners who was tortured and killed for worshipping Christ was Apollonia, who is described in church tradition as holding a position similar to that of deaconess (catechist).

One of the tortures inflicted on her was that of having all her teeth knocked out. Like so many other martyrs in the Catholic tradition, she was condemned to death at the stake. For this, years later, the Catholic Church named her a saint.

During the Middle Ages it was customary to pray to her to alleviate the pain of infections and other conditions in the mouth and she has traditionally been depicted with tongs, an allusion to her torture when she was stripped of her teeth.

One of the most famous portrayals in which it appears is '.The martyrdom of Saint Apolloniaby the French painter Jean Fourquet:

Although many of the traditions of that time have been lost, some prayers or sayings of the time are still preserved, such as this kind of recitation that goes:

At heaven's door
Apolonia was
and the Virgin Mary
that was going on there
says: Apolonia, what are you doing?
sleep or candles?
I do not sleep or veil
that of a toothache
I am dying.
By the star of Venus
and the setting sun
and for Christ's sake
that I carried in my belly
no more pain
neither tooth nor tooth.

Fortunately, nowadays, the most common thing to do is to go to dental clinics like ours.

Subscribe to our newsletter