> Commemoration: Saint Vincent of Saragossa
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Annually on January 22
Saint Vincent of Saragossa,
Deacon and Martyr,
d. 22 January 304
15th-century painting of Vincent by Tomás Giner.
Almighty God, whose deacon Vincent, upheld by you, was not Terrified by threats nor overcome by torments: Strengthen us to endure all adversity with invincible and steadfast faith; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
St. Vincent of Saragossa (Menologion of Basil II, 10th century)
From Holy Women, Holy Men:
Vincent has been called the protomartyr of Spain. Little is known
about the actual events surrounding his life, other than his name, his
order of ministry, and the place and time of his martyrdom. He was a
native of Huesca, in northeastern Spain, and was ordained deacon by
Valerius, Bishop of Saragossa. In the early years of the fourth century,
the fervent Christian community in Spain fell victim to a persecution
ordered by the Roman emperors Diocletian and Maximian. Dacian,
governor of Spain, arrested Valerius and his deacon Vincent, and had
them imprisoned at Valencia.
According to one legend, Valerius had a speech impediment, and
Vincent was often called upon to preach for him. When the two
prisoners were challenged to renounce their faith, amid threats of
torture and death, Vincent said to his bishop, “Father, if you order me,
I will speak.” Valerius is said to have replied, “Son, as I committed
you to dispense the word of God, so I now charge you to answer in
vindication of the faith which we defend.” The young deacon then
told the governor that he and his bishop had no intention of betraying
the true God. The vehemence and enthusiasm of Vincent’s defense
showed no caution in his defiance of the judges, and Dacian’s fury was
increased by this exuberance in Christian witness. Valerius was exiled,
but the angry Dacian ordered that Vincent be tortured.
Although the accounts of his martyrdom have been heavily
embellished by early Christian poets, Augustine of Hippo writes
that Vincent’s unshakeable faith enabled him to endure grotesque
punishments and, finally, death.
Records of the transfer and present whereabouts of Vincent’s relics
are of questionable authenticity. We are certain, however, that his
cult spread rapidly throughout early Christendom and that he was
venerated as a bold and outspoken witness to the truth of the living
Source: Holy Women, Holy Men. (2010). In Holy women, holy men: Celebrating the saints (Ebook ed., p. 193). New York, NY: Church Pub.