Tuesday, January 22, 2008

St. Vincent of Saragossa, Deacon and Martyr

Saint Vincent of Saragossa, also known as Vincent of Huesca, is the patron saint of Lisbon. His feast day is January 22 Catholic; November 11 Orthodox. He was born at Huesca and martyred under Diocletian in 304.

One of the things that the authorities sought in Dioceltian's persecution was the copies of the scriptures. The imperial authorities also went after the bishops, presbyters (priests), and deacons of the Church, figuring that by cutting of the head(s) the Church would quickly did. Of course, that was a mistake.

He was born at Huesca but lived in Zaragoza (Saragossa in English; also in the Aragon region of Spain) and is also known as Saint Vincent the Deacon. The title "deacon" (diakonos) means minister or servant. Vincent served as the deacon of Saint Valerius, bishop of Saragossa. Imprisoned in Valencia for his faith, and tortured on a gridiron — a story perhaps adapted from the martyrdom of another son of Huesca, Saint Lawrence— Vincent, like many early martyrs in the early hagiographic literature, succeeded in converting his jailer. Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused.

The earliest account of Vincent's martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius, (348 – after 405), who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon ("Crowns of Martyrdom"), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs, including Lawrence. Prudentius describes how Vincent was brought to trial along with his bishop Valerius, and that since Valerius had a speech impediment, Vincent spoke for both, but that his outspoken fearless manner so angered the governor that Vincent was tortured and martyred, though his aged bishop was only exiled.

Eternal Father, you gave St. 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.

1 comment:

salvador said...

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Very complete web about pilgrim way from Huesca to Valencia for walkers and cyclists of Saint Vincent of Saragossa as a very important saint in Spain in fourth century, developed by Via Vicentius . It includes maps , history , images and many interesting informations concerning to the martyr saint.