Martyr Deacon Vincent of Saragossa by Augusin Theodule Ribot

St. Vincent of Saragossa by Augustin Theodule Ribot

“…the kidnappers murdered the Deacon who was serving as the bishops’ driver…” 

Alas one of the many ways that Deacons serve the church.  Even in death, they serve.  Serving the Bishop both at holy altars in this life… and at the altar of the Lamb of God, our great and high priest.  Recently two Orthodox Bishops in Syria were kidnapped by Syrian rebels, no doubt the Deacon who remains nameless in media sources, but whose name is known in heaven, was murdered and martyred immediately as he no doubt stood in harm’s way serving the Bishops by protecting them.

The bishops still have not been returned and remain captive.

While news in our country is filled with pathetic debates on gay, lesbian, bi, and transsexual marriages, Dancing with Stars, senseless starlets and NFL draftees…real humans, men, women and children are murdered by the thousands each day for their faith. Orthodox Christians – in Egypt, Syria and around the world.

But the mainstream media seemingly doesn’t care.  But the Church does, here is the story of another Deacon, pictured here by French artist Ribot,  who gave his life in place of the  timid and tepid Bishop he served.

“In the year 304 A.D. during the persecution of the Emperor Diocletian the Deacon Vincent was arrested along with his bishop Valerius of Saragossa.  They were ordered by Dacian the Roman governor of Iberia to renounce the faith and show loyalty to Rome by worshiping at the imperial altar.  Bishop Valerius was the first to speak but he either had a speech impediment or spoke too softly in order to defend himself.  Deacon Vincent interrupted him and was distressed that his Bishop was acting so timidly and with defiance he proclaimed that one must cry out against all tyranny leveled against God’s ministers.  Valerius was dismissed  with a sentence of banishment, but for the contumacious and presumptuous deacon, Dacian devised an array of unequaled in the history of martyrdom. 

Like his cousin Lawrence, another great deacon saint and martyr, Vincent was placed on a gridiron, but the flames only increased his strength and his joy… Dacian could not break Vincent’s spirit, so he sought to destroy what was left of his body.  He had it thrown into a bog where wild animals would tear it to pieces.  But a raven held sentry over the body and would let no other creature near it… the raven flapped its wings and cawed against all molesters.  The raven strikes a pose as if it were a rampant eagle.  The body of the dead saint is sprawled on an ashen ground while an ethereal light coming from above caresses his corpse with divine chiaroscuro…”

Saint Augustine lauded Vincent’s power to inspire others, noting that “…we are confronted with a wondrous play – an iniquitous judge, a bloodthirsty torturer, a martyr unconquered, a contest between cruelty and piety…”

And piety, in the end, always wins…


+ anaphora – laetare


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