Parishioners found him, barely alive. They tried to hide him from his enemies while he recovered from his injuries, but his enemies found him again. They tortured him and threw him out of the city a second time. He stayed in the area, evangelizing in the countryside, before returning to his place in Ravenna once more. This time, he was tortured repeatedly and in multiple ways before they finally deported him.
While in exile, he continued to preach the Gospel and to do good works, but the authorities there too saw him as a threat, so he was again beaten and sent back, returning to Ravenna a fourth time.
One day, as he was making his way out of the city, he was set upon yet again and beaten. It took several days for him to die. During that time, he warned his people that things were going to get worse, but that the Church would triumph.
Why did this bishop keep going back (for more than 25 years) to a place where he was not welcome? For love of the Gospel and of the people.
It was also his duty as bishop of the place. It was a responsibility that had been entrusted to him by his dear old friend and comrade Peter. In the end, since Peter, Bishop of Rome and leader of Christ's twelve Apostles, had been tortured and killed under the Emperor Nero, it was no surprise to his friend Apollinaris, Bishop of Ravenna, that he would die not too many years later under the mandate of Nero’s successor, Vespasian.
We too may not always be welcome as we strive to live and spread the Gospel, but if we persevere by God’s grace we will be welcomed and will share the glory enjoyed by Peter and Apollinaris