Resident of Phrygia Salutaris. Bishop of Hierapolis (an area of modern southwestern Turkey). Active missionary in his region. He was imprisoned for a period as a threat to civil order for opposing paganism. At age 72 he was summoned to Rome, Italy to exorcise a demon from Lucilla, daughter of Emperor Marcus Aurelius; he succeeded, and then returned to his see. He composed his own epitaph, making references of traditions still practised today.
A Greek hagiographer used the exorcism incident as a jumping off point to write a biography of Abercius. Lacking material and details, the writer included incidents from the lives of other saints, and when that ran out, he added plain fiction. Some have considered Abercius to be fictional, and much scholarship has been required to prove his existence and extract the few facts about him that we know.
- c.200 of natural causes
- bishop destroying a statue of Apollo
- performing an excorcism on a girl or young woman
- with his crozier brought to him by an angel
- Book of Saints, by the Monks of Ramsgate
- Catholic Online
- Dictionary of Saints, by John Delaney
- Emblems of the Saints, by F C Husenbeth and Augustus Jessopp
- Our Sunday Visitor’s Encyclopedia of Saints