Saint Vincent of Saragossa


Saint Vincent was born at Huesca, near Saragossa Spain sometime in the 200s AD. After a formal education by the Saint Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, Saint Vincent was ordained to the diaconate and began to preach through the diocese. He also served Saint Bishop Valerius as a spokesman, as the Bishop suffered from a speech impediment. Both Saint Vincent and Saint Valerius were arrested during the Diocletian persecutions and brought to trail by Dacian, the Roman governor of Valencia.


Dacian offered to let the two out of prison if they would renounce their faith and throw the Holy Scripture into the fire. Saint Vincent refused, then spoke for Saint Valerius, saying that he too refused and both were willing to die for their faith. They explained to the local judge that it was no longer worth his time to threaten or offer rewards, nothing would sway them from their love of Christ. Saint Vincent was stretched on a rack and his flesh torn with terrible iron hooks - these same wounds were then rubbed with salt causing excruciating pain. Finally, out of anger, the judge ordered him to burned alive upon a gridiron and his body was thrown to the floor among broken jars. Saint Vincent died there on the floor, not screaming or crying in agony but falling into a peaceful slumber. This peaceful death so shocked the jailor that he would himself convert to Christianity.


Legend holds that Saint Vincent's body was protected from vultures by a flock of Ravens who stood guard until other Christians could recover his body. The Christians took his body and buried it at a place now known as Cape Saint Vincent. When the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi wrote of the place, he noticed the shrine erected over the burial spot was always protected by Ravens, leading him to name the place "Kanisah al-Ghurab (Church of the Raven, or كنيسة الغراب). King Afonso I of Portugal had the body of Saint Vincent brought to Lisbon Cathedral - the coat of arms of Lisbon depicts this transfer of Saint Vincent's relics.



Coat of Arms for Lisbon, depicting the relics being brought by ship


Both the Island of Saint Vincent in the Caribbean and the Cape Vedre Island of Sao Vicente were named for Saint Vincent as they were both discovered by Europeans on his feast day (1498for Saint Vincent island and 1462 for Sao Vicente). Today Saint Vincent among other patronages is honored as the Patron Saint of wine-makers, vinegar makers and Sao Vicente Lisbon. His feast day is set for January 22.



Saint Vincent, Lisbon




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