Vincent (St) of Saragossa

Vincent (St.) Of Saragossa is one of the most venerated martyrs of early times. Tradition relates that he was a native of Huesca, in Aragon, and a kinsman of the martyr deacon Laurentius. On the breaking out of Diocletian and Maximian's persecution (about A.D. 303), he was archdeacon to bishop Valerius of Saragossa, and was summoned before the governor to answer for his faith. This he did with such boldness as to excite the rage of his inquisitors and bring upon him the most horrible tortures, which he intensified by mocking the executioners when they wearied of their work. He was finally roasted on an red-hot grate, and his sores were afterwards rubbed with salt; and he was then thrust into an exceedingly contracted and dark dungeon, where he lacked food and had to lie on a surface of sharp stones, etc. In this condition of misery he began to experience his glorification. Angels brought him celestial food and changed his rough couch into a. bed of roses; and when the people, attracted by the report of the miracle, thronged about him, he found strength, to preach to them. Even the fanatical governor, Datian of Saragossa, was temporarily subdued, and ordered Vincent to be brought from the dungeon and placed on a soft bed; but when the latter died, his rage broke out afresh, and he commanded that the body should be thrown to the wild beasts for food. There-upon angels, and even ravens, protected the corpse from the ravenous wolves and vultures. It was then cast into the sea, but floated, and reached a safe shore, where it was taken up by Christian hands and honorably interred. At a later day the erection of an altar and a chapel introduced the worship of the precious relics.This legendary history was already familiar to Augustine (see serm. 4, De Jacob et Esau [in Natali S. Vincentii]. and serm. 274, 275, 276; comp. also Prudentius, Peristephanon [ed. Dressel], hymn 5, p. 350-371; Paulinus of Nola, Poem. 27; Venantius Fortunatus, Carim. 8:4;. Gregory of Tours, De Glor. Mart. c. 90; Histor. Francor. 3, 29; Bolland, Passio S. Vinc. sub Jan. 22; and Ruinart, Acta Martt. [ed. Galura], 2, 339). The relics of Vincent were mostly brought to Lisbon in the Middle Ages; but a portion, including his stole, is claimed to be in the possession of Paris, and another portion, including one of his arms, in the keeping of Bari, in Apulia. See Tillemont, Memoires, 5, 215; Herzog, Real Encyklop. s.v.

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