Saturday, January 22, 2011

Memorial of Sts Vincent and Anastasius

"Vincent was born at Huesca in Granada in Spain.  He was early turned to study, and learned sacred letters from Valerius, Bishop of Saragossa.  He was accustomed to deliver discourses for this Prelate, who, owing to an impediment in his speech, was not able to preach himself.  This coming to the ears of Dacian, Prefect of the province under Diocletian and Maximian, he caused Vincent to be arrested at Saragossa, and brought before him at Valencia in bonds.  The saint was scourged, and afterward tormented on the rack, in presence of numerous spectators, but neither torture, threats, nor fair words could bend his resolution.  He was then laid on a grating over hot coals, his flesh mangled with iron hooks, and white-hot plates of metal applied to the wounds.  The still breathing remains were taken back to a prison, and laid on broken potsherds, that the agony of his naked body might prevent his sleeping from exhaustion.

As he lay in his dark cell, a glorious light suddenly filled the prison, to the astónishment of all who saw it.  The gaoler informed Dacian, who caused the martyr to be brought out and cared for in a soft bed, hoping that though he had failed to move him by cruelty, he might seduce him by pretended kindness.  But the indomitable soul of Vincent, armed with faith and hope in Christ Jesus, remained unconquered even to the end, and triumphing over the fire, the steel, and the cruelty of the tormentors, passed away to receive the victorious crown or martyrdom in heaven on the 22nd day of January.  His body was thrown out unburied.  A raven perched upon it and kept off with his beak, claws, and wings both the other birds and a wolf, which came to prey on it.  Dacian then had it thrown into the sea, but by the will of God it was washed up again, and the Christians took and buried it.

Anastasius was a Persian monk who made a pilgrimage to the Holy Places at Jerusalem in the reign of the Emperor Heraclius, during which journey he endured bonds and stripes on account of his confession of Christ at Caesarea, in Palestine.  Soon after his return, he was arrested by the Persians for the same cause, and, after enduring divers torments, he and seventy other Christians were beheaded by order of King Chosroes.  His relicks were first carried to Jerusalem, to the monastery in which he had made his monastic profession, and afterwards to Rome, where they were laid in the monastery of Saints Vincent and Anastasius."

-- Taken from the Breviary of St Pius X (1955 ed)

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