Saint of the Day – 22 January – St Vincent of Saragossa (Died 304) – Protomartyr of Spain

Saint of the Day – 22 January – St Vincent of Saragossa (Died 304) Deacon – Protomartyr of Spain – Archdeacon, Preacher, assistant to St Valerius of Saragossa (Died 315), who was his Bishop and whose Memorial is also today, – also known as Vincent Martyr, Vincent of Zaragoza, Vincent the Deacon, Vincent Tourante, Vincent of Aragon, Vincent of Huesca. Patronages – Lisbon, Valencia, Valencia, Vicenza (Italy), Sao Vicente, vinegar makers, vintners, wine growers and the Order of the Deacons of the Diocese of Bergamo (Italy).Vicente_de_Zaragoza_(School_of_Francisco_Ribalta)_XVII_century.jpeg

The earliest account of Vincent’s martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius, who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon (“Crowns of Martyrdom“), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs.

He was born at Huesca, near Saragossa, Spain sometime during the latter part of the 3rd century;  it is believed his father was Eutricius (Euthicius) and his mother was Enola, a native of Osca.   Vincent spent most of his life in the city of Saragossa, where he was educated and ordained to the diaconate by Bishop Valerius of Saragossa, who commissioned Vincent to preach throughout the diocese.   Because Valerius suffered from a speech impediment, Vincent acted as his spokesman.

The ordination of St Vincent by St Valerius


When the Roman Emperor Diocletian began persecuting Christians in Spain, both were brought before the Roman governor, Dacian in Valencia.   Vincent and his bishop Valerius were confined to the prison of Valencia.   Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused.   Speaking on behalf of his bishop, he informed the judge that they were ready to suffer everything for their faith and that they could pay no heed either to threats or promises.

His outspoken manner so angered the governor that Vincent was inflicted every sort of torture on him.   He was stretched on the rack and his flesh torn with iron hooks.   Then his wounds were rubbed with salt and he was burned alive upon a red-hot gridiron. Finally, he was cast into prison and laid on a floor scattered with broken pottery, where he died.   During his martyrdom he preserved such peace and tranquillity that it astonished his jailer, who repented from his sins and was converted.   Vincent’s dead body was thrown into the sea in a sack but was later recovered by the Christians and his veneration immediately spread throughout the Church.   The aged bishop Valerius was exiled.

The story that Vincent was tortured on a gridiron is 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.

According to legend, after being martyred, ravens protected St Vincent’s body from being devoured by vultures, until his followers could recover the body.   His body was taken to what is now known as Cape St Vincent; a shrine was erected over his grave, which continued to be guarded by flocks of ravens.   In the time of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi noted this constant guard by ravens, for which the place was named by him كنيسة الغراب “Kanīsah al-Ghurāb” (Church of the Raven). King Afonso I of Portugal (1139–1185) had the body of the saint exhumed in 1173 and brought it by ship to the Lisbon Cathedral.   This transfer of the relics is depicted on the coat of arms of Lisbon.

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Coat of Arms of Lisbon depicting the translation of the relics of St Vincent

Though Vincent’s tomb in Valencia became the earliest centre of his cult, he was also honoured at his birthplace and his reputation spread from Saragossa.

A church was built in honour of Vincent, by the Catholic bishops of Iberia, when they succeeded in converting King Reccared and his nobles to Trinitarian Christianity.   When the Moors came in 711, the church was razed and its materials incorporated in the Mezquita, the “Great Mosque” of Cordova.

The Cape Verde island of São Vicente, a former Portuguese colony, was named in St Vincent’s honour because it was discovered on 22 January, St Vincent’s feast day, in 1462.

Vincent’s left arm is on display as a relic in Valencia Cathedral, located near the extensive Carrer de Sant Vicent Mártir (Saint Vincent the Martyr Street).cutcaster-photo-100913662-saint-vincent-of-zaragoza576px-zaragoza_-_la_seo_38_-_capilla_de_san_vicente_martirst vincent saragossa vatican statue



Passionate Catholic. Being a Catholic is a way of life - a love affair "Religion must be like the air we breathe..."- St John Bosco Prayer is what the world needs combined with the example of our lives which testify to the Light of Christ. This site, which is now using the Traditional Calendar, will mainly concentrate on Daily Prayers, Novenas and the Memorials and Feast Days of our friends in Heaven, the Saints who went before us and the great blessings the Church provides in our Catholic Monthly Devotions. This Site is placed under the Patronage of my many favourite Saints and especially, St Paul. "For the Saints are sent to us by God as so many sermons. We do not use them, it is they who move us and lead us, to where we had not expected to go.” Charles Cardinal Journet (1891-1975) This site adheres to the Catholic Church and all her teachings. PLEASE ADVISE ME OF ANY GLARING TYPOS etc - In June 2021 I lost 95% sight in my left eye and sometimes miss errors. Thank you and I pray all those who visit here will be abundantly blessed. Pax et bonum! 🙏

6 thoughts on “Saint of the Day – 22 January – St Vincent of Saragossa (Died 304) – Protomartyr of Spain

  1. This morning I read an account that said before he died he converted the jailor who summoned believers who cleansed his wounds with rags and these bloody rags were venerated by Christians. Myth or fact, who cares? However, it points out that Vincent was venerated as he died.


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