Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Saturday 24 July |
Saint of the Day: St. Sharbel Makhluf
home iconSpirituality
line break icon

Why is St. Florian the patron saint of firefighters?

SAINT Florian

Zvonimir Atletic | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 09/17/20

The Roman soldier has many legends and miracles associated with him that feature him extinguishing fires.

For many centuries firefighters around the world have invoked the supernatural aid of St. Florian, patron of firefighters. In fact, International Firefighters’ Day is celebrated annually on May 4, the feast day of St. Florian.

How did he become associated with firefighters?

St. Florian was a Roman solider in the 3rd century who was reportedly in charge of a special group of firefighting soldiers. This fact is difficult to trace, but what appears to be more plausible is that he was associated with a particular miracle. According to the 19th-century book Sacred and Legendary Art, this involved his swift action to douse the flames threatening a city.

 He was a native of Enns, in Lower Austria, and worked many miracles: among others he is said to have extinguished a conflagration by throwing a pitcher-full of water over the flames.

Furthermore, according to the early 20th-century book Notes and Queries, Florian was also credited with a similar miracle through his heavenly intercession.

His connection with the suppression and prevention of fires is not very clear, but it is said that on one occasion a [man] fell into his fire, and was saved by invoking the saint. This incident is the subject of one of the fifteen pictures with which the abbey church of St. Florian is decorated.

There exists even a special litany to St. Florian that invokes his intercession against fires.

Whatever the exact origins of this association might have been, throughout the Middle Ages and into the present day St. Florian has been called upon in time of need by firefighters and many miracles have occurred.


Read more:
5 Ways to prevent a house fire


Read more:
Why the Holy Spirit appeared as fire

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Cerith Gardiner
8 Powerful quotes from Nightbirde that will fill you with hope
Kathleen N. Hattrup
2 Bible verses when you’re weary down to the soul
John Burger
Alumni sue after this Catholic saint’s name was removed fro...
Philip Kosloski
Why is Latin the official language of the Church, instead of Aram...
Daniel Esparza
Who are the cherubim in the Bible?
Fr. Patrick Briscoe, OP
5 Questions (and answers) about Pope Francis’ changes to La...
Daniel Esparza
3 Legendary pilgrimages off the beaten path
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.