He was Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia and became famous for his polemical treatises against the heretics of his day, whose errors he showed to be entirely borrowed from the pagans. He wrote two books against the Jews, five against the pagans, and two on "Truth". In 177 he published an "Apologia" for the Christians, addressed to Marcus Aurelius, and appealing to the Emperor's own experience with the "Thundering Legion", whose prayers won him the victory over the Quadi. The exact date of his death is not known, but it was probably while Marcus Aurelius was still Emperor.
Eusebius has given us, in his Church History, a fragment of a work composed by Apollinaris Bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, in which the following words against montanism occur:
"The faithful of Asia, at many times and in many places, came together to consult on the subject of Montanus and his followers; and these new doctrines were examined, and declared strange and impious".
Nothing survives of his writings except for a few extracts, the longest of which relates to the date of Passover. His feast day is commemorated on January 8.