Skip to comments.Saint Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon and Martyr
Posted on 01/22/2005 8:37:08 AM PST by Salvation
Vincent of Saragossa
Feast Day: January 22
Patron Saint of: vintners, winegrowers
Vincent of Saragossa is the earliest known Spanish martyr. It is said that he was brought to trial by the governor Dacian along with his bishop Valerius, and that since Valerius had a speech impediment, Vincent spoke for both. His fearless manner so angered Dacian that Vincent was horribly tortured and killed; his aged bishop was only exiled.
As the legend goes, Vincent's corpse was thrown into a bog to be torn apart by wild, hungry animals. Witnesses say that a bird, a raven, protected the saint's remains fighting off all of the beasts that dared to try to feast.
(also known as Vincent of Aragon)
|Born in Huesca, Spain; died January 22, 304.
Vincent was educated and ordained a deacon by Bishop Saint Valerius of Saragossa with the commission to preach (White). (Gill confusingly says: "As a young priest he served Valerius, Bishop of Saragossa, and after a time became his archdeacon." Is it possible that at the time a presbyter could become a deacon? Deacons did have more power at the time because the faculties necessary for most sacraments had not yet been delegated to the presbyters; deacons held the purse- strings.)
The ancient legend, but not an eyewitness account, relates that the governor Dacian was doing his utmost to stamp out Christianity in his domain. He killed 18 believers in Saragossa in 303. It was during these persecutions under Emperor Diocletian, that Vincent, the bishop, and the priests were arrested, led away in chains, and imprisoned in Valencia. Because Valerius suffered from a speech impediment, Vincent acted as his spokesman and, on behalf of them all, boldly declared their allegiance to Christ. Saint Valerius was exiled and later may have died as a martyr.
Vincent underwent terrible tortures; he had resisted turning over his church's sacred books, and sacrificing to false gods. He was stretched upon a rack, torn with metal hooks, and laid upon a frame of sharp iron bars heated from beneath by fire. When even this diabolic cruelty failed to break his will, he was thrown into a dungeon the floor of which was strewn with broken crockery that added to the agony of his already lacerated body.
Vincent declared that God sent the angels of heaven to comfort him. His cell, he said, was illuminated with a heavenly light, and might have been filled with roses (the gift of scent), so sweet was its fragrance. He sang hymns as he suffered, so that even the jailer was astounded. As he looked into the cell of the tormented saint and saw him upon his broken knees, suffering agony yet singing praises to God, he was overcome by wonder, and confessed in that hour his conversion.
On hearing this, the Roman governor was infuriated, but finding all his efforts to unnerve his victim were useless, gave orders for the torture to stop--perhaps to win Vincent by clemency or to prevent him from becoming a martyr.
For a time Vincent had some relief. The faithful were permitted to gaze upon his broken body, probably in the hope that they would abandon their faith. Instead, they came in troops, kissed the open sores, and carried away as relics cloths dipped in his blood. The gentle hands of Christian women tended his wounds. But he did not survive long and died of his injuries in prison in 304 or 305.
When he died, the anger of the authorities was renewed and followed him to his grave. His body was thrown into a bog as prey to the wild birds and beasts, but it was strangely preserved it is said by the protection of a raven. When any wild beast or bird tried to attack the mortal remains of the saint, the raven drove them away. Thwarted, Dacian had Vincent's body tied to a stone and cast into the sea. But in the night it was washed ashore, and again loving hands gave it reverent care and secret burial. Relics were claimed by Valencia, Saragossa, Lisbon (the Augustinian monastery), Paris, and Le Mans.
He was the protomartyr of Spain. There can be no doubt of Vincent martyrdom; however, there is plenty of room for speculation on the manner of his death. Prudentius devoted a poem to his praise and embroidered acts of his martyrdom have been preserved. The fame of Saint Vincent spread very rapidly and far, as Saint Augustine testifies, in a sermon, that his cultus extended to every part of the Roman Empire and everywhere the name of Jesus was known.
Several churches in England were dedicated to his honor in the Middle Ages. Vincent is listed in the Old English Martyrology and many pre-Conquest calendars. Abingdon, which acquired many of his relics in the 12th century, graded his feast at the highest level to include an octave (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Butler, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Gill, White).
Pictured as a deacon with a raven, sometimes on a millstone. On occasion he is shown (1) holding iron hook; (2) with a gridiron with spikes (not to be confused with Saint Lawrence); (3) torn with hooks, burned with torches; or (4) his corpse protected by eagles or ravens (Roeder). Click here to see a 14th- century French illumination.
He is the patron of bakers, roof-makers, sailors, schoolgirls, vine-dressers, vintners (Roeder), tile-makers, and roofers (Encyclopedia). The patron of vine-dressers and vintners may be due to the belief that he protects the fields against the frost that often occurs on or near his feast-day in Burgundy (Farmer).
"Let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee, O Lord; render to our neighbors sevenfold in their bosom; revenge the blood of Thy Saints, which hath been shed."
"Oh God, the heathens are come into Thine inheritance; they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem as a place to keep fruit."
Many times it's hard for me to distinguish between what I was taught are the true Characteristics of God, and those I want impose upon him. I mention that because I am predisposed to feeling comforted by the possibility of God's wrath.
Alleluia to our Merciful Savior.
What a fantastic icon. I love it when you post these. We celebrate the same saints, just on different days.
It is the feast day of St. Athanasius the Martyr in the Orthodox Church on January 22 also.
"Thy Martyr, O Lord, in his courageous contest for Thee received the prize of the crowns of incorruption and life from Thee, our immortal God. For since he possessed Thy strength, he cast down the tyrants and wholly destroyed the demons' strengthless presumption. O Christ God, by his prayers, save our souls, since Thou art merciful.
With hymns let us, the faithful, sing Timothy's praises as Paul's divine disciple and faithful companion; with him let us also laud Anastasius the godly-wise, who shone forth with splendor like a star out of Persia and doth drive away from us our bodily sickness and spiritual maladies."
There is a line of theology in Orthodoxy which speaks of God's wrath as always instructive. Kalomiros is an exponent of this view.
It is a nice icon, isn't it. Its a modern one prayed by an American iconographer by the name of Nicholas Papas. We have a few of his icons here at home.
January 22, 2007
When Jesus deliberately began his journey to death, Luke says that he set his face to go to Jerusalem. It is this quality of rocklike courage that distinguishes the martyrs.
Most of what we know about this saint comes from the poet Prudentius. His Acts have been rather freely colored by the imagination of their compiler. But St. Augustine, in one of his sermons on St. Vincent, speaks of having the Acts of his martyrdom before him. We are at least sure of his name, his being a deacon, the place of his death and burial.
According to the story we have (and as with some of the other early martyrs the unusual devotion he inspired must have had a basis in a very heroic life), Vincent was ordained deacon by his friend St. Valerius of Saragossa in Spain. The Roman emperors had published their edicts against the clergy in 303, and the following year against the laity. Vincent and his bishop were imprisoned in Valencia. Hunger and torture failed to break them. Like the youths in the fiery furnace (Book of Daniel, chapter three), they seemed to thrive on suffering.
Valerius was sent into exile, and Dacian now turned the full force of his fury on Vincent. Tortures that sound like those of World War II were tried. But their main effect was the progressive disintegration of Dacian himself. He had the torturers beaten because they failed.
Finally he suggested a compromise: Would Vincent at least give up the sacred books to be burned according to the emperors edict? He would not. Torture on the gridiron continued, the prisoner remaining courageous, the torturer losing control of himself. Vincent was thrown into a filthy prison celland converted the jailer. Dacian wept with rage, but strangely enough, ordered the prisoner to be given some rest.
Friends among the faithful came to visit him, but he was to have no earthly rest. When they finally settled him on a comfortable bed, he went to his eternal rest.
As opposed to St. Athanasius the Great correct? I was only aware of one St. Athanasius, and didn’t think he was martyred.
Here’s the Synaxarion for the Feast (note the name; there were however, other, in fact several, St. Athanansiuses)):
“Saint Anastasius was a Persian by race, the son of a Magus, and a soldier in the Persian army in the days of Chosroes II, King of Persia, and Heraclius, Emperor of New Rome. The Saint’s Persian name was Magundat.
When Chosroes captured Jerusalem in the year 614 and took the Precious Cross away captive, Magundat heard the report of the miracles that came to pass through the Cross of our salvation. Being of a prudent mind, perplexed that an instrument of torture should be so highly honored by the Christians, yet seized with longing to learn their Faith, he diligently sought out instruction in the whole divine dispensation of Christ: His Incarnation, Passion, and Resurrection. When he learned what he sought to know, his soul was filled with wonder and joy. Withdrawing to the Holy City, he was baptized by Saint Modestus, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and became a monk, receiving the new name of Anastasius.
As he read the lives of the Saints and the accounts of the holy Martyrs, his heart was kindled with love for them to such a degree that he prayed to be counted worthy of a martyr’s end like unto theirs. Finally, unable to contain his longing, he left his monastery. Encountering certain Persian Magi at Caesarea, he rebuked them for their delusion. Since Palestine was still held in the captivity of the Persians, he was taken before the Persian ruler, questioned, beaten, and imprisoned. He was then taken with other captives to Persia, where, after many tortures, refusing to espouse again the error of his fathers, he was hanged up by one hand, strangled with a noose, and beheaded. The translation of his holy relics is celebrated on the 24th of this month.”
Saint Vincent, Deacon & Martyr
Saint Vincent (+304) was born in Huesca, Spain. He was deacon of the Church of Saragossa and suffered martyrdom in Valencia in the persecution under Diocletian.
Source: Daily Roman Missal, Edited by Rev. James Socías, Midwest Theological Forum, Chicago, Illinois ©2003
You gave Saint Vincent
the courage to endure torture and death for the Gospel:
fill us with Your Spirit
and strengthen us in Your love.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. +Amen.
First Reading: 2 Corinthians 4:7-15
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not to us.
We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For while we live we are always being given up to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
Since we have the same spirit of faith as he had who wrote, "I believed, and so I spoke," we too believe, and so we speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into His presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 10:17-22
Beware of men; for they will deliver you up to councils, and flog you in their synagogues, and you will be dragged before governors and kings for My sake, to bear testimony before them and the Gentiles. When they deliver you up, do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say; for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Brother will deliver up brother to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against parents and have them put to death; and you will be hated by all for my name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.