Saint of the Day – 28 August – Saint Vicinius (Died 330)- also known St Vicinius of Sarsinaas – Bishop, Hermit, Miracle-Worker, healer.
Vicinius, who, according to tradition, was the first Bishop of the diocese of Sarsina (now joined to Cesena), is considered to be of Ligurian origin. He retired as a hermit on a mountain that now bears his name. While priests and people of Sarsina were gathered to choose the bishop, a divine sign appeared on the top of the mountain. Thus the solitary Vicinio became pastor of the Romagna community, from the early 4th century to 330, the date of his death . His charisma was to cast out demons and heal the faithful from physical or spiritual illness through a iron collar that he had placed around his neck.
The historical research on St Vicinius stops at an anonymous 12th century manuscript, called Lectionarium. This is almost certainly the transcription of previous written notes on the life of St Vicinius, dating back at least a century before. From this manuscript we learn that Vicinius is believed to have come from Liguria but it could also originate from the districts of the Savio area. In the wake of the more consolidated tradition, we believe he came from Liguria in the period between the third and fourth centuries.
Vicinius, driven by the love of solitude, dedicated himself to prayer, meditation and penance in a solitary place that tradition identifies with Monte St Vicinius, located about six kilometers from Sarsina.
The holy life of Vicinius was of such satisfaction to the Lord, that He chose him pastor of the Christian community established in Sarsina. Prayer and penance had certainly increased the zeal for the House of the Lord and Vicinius devoted himself to structuring the divine flock by spreading the Gospel even in the most inaccessible areas of the Diocese. The historical records of the bishops of Sarsina, places him first bishop of the diocese and affirms that he was the leader of the Church until 28 August 330, the day of his birth in heaven.
Penance and prayer, evangelisation and conduct of the people of God are the cornerstones to which Saint Vicinius had chained his life and are also the high road he chose to carry out his personal call to holiness.
Each saint embodies a particular charism and St Vicinius expresses the power of God in the fight against the evil one in the spiritual battle of adhesion to the Gospel.
His entry into the ranks of the blessed with death to eternal life occurred after twenty-seven years and three months of episcopal ministry in Sarsina. Even before his death, the intercession of St Vicinius proved to be powerful in favour of those who carried infirmities in body and spirit. Many of them used to come to him when they suffered from ailments in the body, even very serious ones, anxieties, fatigues, pains, upset but above all, when existential and spiritual problems were manifested and through the use of a iron collar that the Saint himself used, by placing it around the neck of the faithful, they manage to find peace and serenity.
We can still read in the Lectionarium of a beggar who attributed a high market value to the collar of Saint Vicinius, he stole it and fled. He reached the river Savio, trying to get as far away as possible but in reality, he spent the night running, only to find himself in the morning, at the same point of the river at which he had begun. Caught in fear and remorse, battered and wounded, he threw the collar into a river vortex, where it was found three days later floating near the shore.
St Vicinus relics are kept in the Sarsina Cathedral in the Chapel of St Vicinius. The miraculous collar is there too and it still brings many pilgrims seeking healing.