Saint/s of the Day – 22 January – Saint Valerius of Saragossa (Died 315) Bishop of Saragossa, Spain from 290 until his death. Patronage – Saragossa.
There are few records of Valerius but tradition holds that he had a speech impediment, and that the Deacon, St Vincent of Saragossa, acted as his spokesman.
Both Valerius and Vincent suffered imprisonment under Diocletian. Vincent was Martyred at Valencia. Valerius was exiled for a time to a place called Enet, near Barbastro but is known to have been present at the Council Elvira, (c 306).
A chapel dedicated to him can be found at La Seo Cathedral in Saragossa. It includes a baroque entryway of gilded wood from the seventeenth century with scenes of the saints Valerius, Vincent, and Lawrence.
Saint Vincent of Saragossa (Died 304) Deacon – Protomartyr of Spain. 22 January. Patronages – São Vicente, Lisbon, Diocese of Algarve, Valencia, Vicenza, Italy, vinegar-makers, wine-makers, Order of Deacons of the Catholic Diocese of Bergamo (Italy). His life and death here: https://anastpaul.com/2019/01/22/saint-of-the-day-22-january-st-vincent-of-saragossa-died-304-protomartyr-of-spain/
Vincent of Saragossa was one of the Church’s three most illustrious Deacons, the other two being Stephen and Lawrence. He is also Spain’s most renowned martyr. Ordained Deacon by St Valerius of Saragossa, he was taken in chains to Valencia during the Diocletian persecution and put to death. From legend we have the following details of his martyrdom. After brutal scourging in the presence of many witnesses, he was stretched on the rack but neither torture, nor blandishments, nor threats, could undermine the strength and courage of his faith. Next, he was cast on a heated grating, lacerated with iron hooks and seared with hot metal plates. Then he was returned to prison, where the floor was heavily strewn with pieces of broken glass. A heavenly brightness flooded the entire dungeon, filling all who saw it with greatest awe.
After this he was placed on a soft bed in the hope that lenient treatment would induce apostasy, since torture had proven ineffective. But strengthened by faith in Christ Jesus and the hope of everlasting life, Vincent maintained an invincible spirit and overcame all efforts, whether by fire, sword, rack, or torture, to induce defection. He persevered to the end and gained the heavenly crown of martyrdom.
Below are a few stanzas of the magnificent Hymn composed by Prudentius (c 348 – c 413) (Aurelius Prudentius Clemens), the renowned Poet, in honour of St Vincent. There is a short biography of Prudentius here: https://anastpaul.com/2020/01/08/quote-s-of-the-day-8-january-take-courage-it-is-i-and-bl-titus-zeman/
The Ambrosian Breviary has selected several verses of this long Poem, for one of its Hymns and there are offered to you.
O blessed Martyr!
bless this day of thy feast,
whereon the crown is given to thee,
and thou didst purchase it by thy blood.
This is the day which took thee
from this dark world to heaven
and restored thee in triumph to Christ,
for thou hadst conquered
thy torturer and thy judge.
Fellow now of the Angels,
thou shinest in thy bright stole,
which thou didst wash in the stream of thy blood,
for thou wast the invincible witness of Christ.
Thou wast a levite of the holy tribe,
a Minister of God’s altar,
which is surrounded by its seven snow-white pillars
and, by thy noble triumph,
thou art a Martyr of Christ.
Thou alone, O doubly noble!
didst bear away the palms of a double victory
and wreathe two laurels for thy brow.
Conqueror, once, in the hard death thou didst endure
and, then, after death,
thou wast conqueror over the tyrant-thief
and, with thy body alone,
didst gloriously defeat him.
Oh! by thy chains
and fires and hooks;
by thy prison-chains;
by the potsherds,
strewed to enhance thy glory.
Assist us now
and hear the humble prayers of thy suppliants
and make intercession for us sinners
at the throne of God.
To God the Father
and to His Only Son
and to the Holy Paraclete,
be glory now and for all ages.