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Patron Saint of Firefighters
St. Florian, Mart.
A.D. 304

The Saint Florian commemorated in the Roman martyrology on this day was an officer of the Roman army, who occupied a high administrative post in Noricum, now part of Austria, and who suffered death for the faith in the days of Diocletian. His legendary “acts” state that he gave himself up at Lorch to the soldiers of Aquilinus, the governor, when they were rounding up the Christians, and that after making a bold confession he was twice acourged, half-flayed alive and finally thrown into the river Enns with a stone round his neck. His body, recovered and buried by a pious woman, was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz. It is said to have been at a later date translated to Rome, and Pope Lucius III, in 1138, gave some of the saint’s relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the Bishop of Cracow. Since that time St. Florian has been regarded as the patron of Poland as well as of Linz and of Upper Austria. In these translations there may have been some confusion with other reputed saints of the same name, but there has been great popular devotion to St. Florian in many parts of central Europe, and the tradition as to his martyrdom not far from the spot where the Enns flows into the Danube is ancient and reliable. Many miracles of healing are attributed to his intercession and he is involved as a powerful protector in danger from fire or water.