1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Vincent, St
VINCENT (or Vincentius), ST, deacon and martyr, whose festival is celebrated on the 22nd of January. In several of his discourses St Augustine pronounces the eulogy of this martyr, and refers to Acts which were read in the church. It is doubtful whether the Acts that have come down to us (Acta Sanctorum, January, ii. 394–397) are those referred to by St Augustine, since it is not certain that they are a contemporary document. According to this account, Vincent was born of noble parents in Spain, and was educated by Valerius, bishop of Saragossa, who ordained him to the diaconate. Under the persecution of Diocletian, Vincent was arrested and taken to Valencia. Having stood firm in his profession before Dacianus, the governor, he was subjected to excruciating tortures and thrown into prison, where angels visited him, lighting his dungeon with celestial light and relieving his sufferings. His warders, having seen these wonders through the chinks of the wall, forthwith became Christians. He was afterwards brought out and laid upon a soft mattress in order that he might regain sufficient strength for new torments; but, while Dacianus was meditating punishment, the saint gently breathed his last. The tyrant exposed his body to wild beasts, but a raven miraculously descended and protected it. It was then thrown into the sea, but was cast up on the shore, recovered by a pious woman and buried outside Valencia. Prudentius devoted one of his hymns (Peristeph. v.) to St Vincent, and St Augustine attests that in his lifetime the festival of the saint was celebrated throughout the Christian world (Serm. 276, n. 4).
See T. Ruinart, Acta martyrum sincera (Amsterdam, 1713), pp. 364–66; Le Nain de Tillemont, Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire ecclésiastique (Paris, 1701, seq.), v. 215–225, 673–675. (H. De.)