St Vincent, D. M.


St. Vincent Martyr is thrown to the dunghill. Sculpture in alabaster. Documentary 1533 – Diego de Tredia – Museum of Fine Arts of Valencia.

Saint Vincent of Saragossa, also known as Vincent Martyr, Vincent of Huesca or Vincent the Deacon, the Protomartyr of Spain, was a deacon of the Church of Saragossa. He was born at Huesca 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.

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

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.

When the Roman Emperor Diocletian began persecuting Christians in Spain, both were brought before the Roman governor, Dacian in Valencia and were confined to the prison. 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.

His outspoken manner angered the governor, and Vincent was various forms of torture – racked, flesh torn with iron hooks, wounds rubbed with salt, and burned alive upon a red-hot gridiron. Finally, he was confined to a cell filled broken pottery.

During his martyrdom, he preserved such peace and tranquillity that it astonished the jailer, who repented of his sins and was converted. Vincent’s body was thrown into the sea in a sack but was later recovered by the Christians.