Martyr: d. 304
+ Florian was an officer in the army and civil official in the area of modern-day Austria.
+ During the fierce persecution of Christians ordered by the Roman Emperor Diocletian,
Florian handed himself over to the authorities and, after being cruelly tortured, he was thrown into the River Emms with a stone tied around his neck.
+ The body of Florian was pulled from the river by a pious woman and, years later, his relics were enshrined in an Augustinian abbey near Linz. Because some of his relics were given as a gift to King Casimir of Poland and to the bishop of Krakow, Saint Florian is honored as one of the patron saints of Poland.
+ In recent years, Saint Florian has come to be honored as the patron saint of firefighters and for protection against fire and floods.
A statue of Saint Florian—dedicated to the firefighters who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001—is enshrined with another statue of Saint Michael the Archangel (patron saint of police officers) in St. Joseph’s Chapel, located only two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. First responders used the chapel as a shelter and refuge in the days and weeks after the attacks of 9/11.
“How precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his faithful ones.”—Psalm 116:15
The saint in art
Saint Florian is most often depicted wearing the uniform of a Roman soldier and pouring water onto a fire. Some depictions of the saint will also include a large millstone, a reminder of his martyrdom by drowning.
O God, who were pleased to give light to your Church by adorning blessed Florian with the victory of martyrdom, graciously grant that, as he imitated the Lord’s Passion, so we may, by following in his footsteps, be worthy to attain eternal joys. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal: Common of Martyrs—For One Martyr During the Easter Season)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.