Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On the Feast of S. Vincent, M. (Jan. 22)

From Hymn melodies for the whole year, from the Sarum service-books:
 On the Feast of S. Vincent, M. (Jan. 22) :
L. & 2nd Ev. Christi miles gloriosus ... ... ... 45

Follow along with the office here, at Breviary Offices, from Lauds to Compline Inclusive (Society of St. Margaret, Boston, 1885).     I'll link-in via iFrame at the bottom of the post too.

The hymn for today's Feast of St. Vincent Martyr (also known as Saint Vincent of Saragossa) is sung to the same tune as the hymns for "the Feast of the Dedication of a Church," Urbs beata Hierusalem and Angulare fundamentumThis is interesting, because this melody would thus call to mind concepts like "foundations" and "cornerstones"; its use here is surely no accident.

That's this melody:

Oremus hymnal online has a midi of this plainsong at its listing for Urbs Beata Hierusalem.  And Guilliame Dufay used the plainchant melody in his alternatum setting of the hymn:

Here's a set of English words, from Lauda Syon:
GLORIOUS was the Christian warrior
Deacon Vincent, as with tread
Firm and free, the pile ascending
To that fiery doom he sped;
Where the salt shower fiercely crackling
O'er his tortured flesh was spread;

While the furnace flamed around him,
Crimsoned with his gushing blood;
Yet he still endured intrepid
Faithful ever to his Lord;
And with eyes to Heaven uplifted
Christ upon His Throne adored!

Glory be to God and Honour
In the highest, as is meet;
To The Son as to The Father,
And The Eternal Paraclete;
Whose is boundless Praise and Power
Throughout ages infinite! Amen.

This may be the original Latin (hard to find anywhere!):
Christi miles gloriosus 
levita Vincentius 
ut tribunal, sponte rogum 
conscendit intrepidus
cujus salis crepitantis 
per corpus minutiæ 

Sparsim ibant atque prunæ 
vernabantur sanguine
inter hæc manet immotas 
ille Dei famulus
orans Christum in sublime 
erectis luminibus 

Gloria et honor Deo
Usquequo Altissimo
Una Patri Filioque 
inclito Paraclito 
cui laus est et potestas 
Per æterna secula. Amen.

It's very interesting to me that the Sarum calendar celebrated an early Iberian martyr!  It may simply be the facts that he was so early (martyred under Diocletian), and a martyr, and a deacon - and that, according to his legend, and like Sts. Peter and Paul, he converted his own jailer.

It could be that he was venerated everywhere in the early church - perhaps as a result of Prudentius' poem about him.  It could be on account of his inclusion in the Litany of the Saints.  It could be because his relics were housed at Castres, apparently an important stop on the Pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela.

It could be because as this site notes:
Hard by the Holy Well, there is a major relic of St. Vincent of Saragossa in the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
(More at Our Lady's Mirror, Spring 1946.)

I'm still reading about him to try to understand why he has his own Sarum "Proper of Saints" feast day; that puts him right up there with Mary, Peter, Paul, and the other major saints.  It's a huge honor.

This is from the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913, via New Advent:
St. Vincent
Deacon of Saragossa, and martyr under Diocletian, 304; mentioned in the Roman Martyrology, 22 Jan., with St. Anastasius the Persian, honoured by the Greeks, 11 Nov. This most renowned martyr of Spain is represented in the dalmatic of a deacon, and has as emblems a cross, a raven, a grate, or a fire-pile. He is honoured as patron in Valencia, Saragossa, Portugal etc., is invoked by vintners, brickmakers, and sailors, and is in the Litany of the Saints. His Acts were read in the churches of Africa at the end of the fourth century, as St. Augustine testifies in Sermon 275. The present Acts (Acta SS., III Jan., 6) date from the eighth or ninth century, and were compiled from tradition. Anal. Boll., I, 259, gives another life. All agree in substance with the metric life by Prudentius (P.L., LX, 378). He was born at Saragossa; his father was Eutricius (Euthicius), and his mother, Enola, a native of Osca. Under the direction of Valerius, Bishop of Sargossa, Vincent made great progress in his studies. He was ordained deacon and commissioned to do the preaching in the diocese, the bishop having an impediment of speech. By order of the Governor Dacian he and his bishop were dragged in chains to Valencia and kept in prison for a long time. Then Valerius was banished, but Vincent was subjected to many cruel torments, the rack, the gridiron, and scourgings. He was again imprisoned, in a cell strewn with potsherds. He was next placed in a soft and luxurious bed, to shake his constancy, but here he expired.

His body was thrown to be devoured by vultures, but it was defended by a raven. Dacian had the body cast into the sea, but it came to shore and was buried by a pious widow. After peace was restored to the Church, a chapel was built over the remains outside the walls of Valencia. In 1175 the relics were brought to Lisbon; others claim that they came to Castres in 864. Cremona, Bari, and other cities claim to have relics. Childeric I brought the sole and dalmatic to Paris in 542, and built a church in honour of St. Vincent, later called St-Germain-des-Prés. Regimont, near Bezières, had a church of the saint as early as 455. Rome had three churches dedicated to St. Vincent; one near St. Peter's, another in Trastevere, and the one built by Honorius I (625-38) and renewed by Leo III in 796. A pilaster found in the basilica of Salona in Dalmatia shows an inscription of the fifth or sixth century in honour of the saint (Rom. Quartalschrift, 1907, Arch. 135).

Here's some of what Wikipedia says about him:
Saint Vincent of Saragossa, also known as Vincent Martyr, Vincent of Huesca or Vincent the Deacon, is the patron saint of Lisbon and Valencia. His feast day is 22 January in the Roman Catholic Church and Anglican Communion and 11 November in the Eastern Orthodox Churches. He was born at Huesca and martyred under the Emperor Diocletian around the year 304.

He was born at Huesca but lived in Saragossa.
Vincent served as the deacon of Valerius of Saragossa, the city's bishop. Imprisoned in Valencia for his faith, and tortured on a gridiron — a story perhaps adapted from the martyrdom of another son of Huesca, Saint Lawrence— Vincent, like many early martyrs in the early hagiographic literature, succeeded in converting his jailer. Though he was finally offered release if he would consign Scripture to the fire, Vincent refused.

The earliest account of Vincent's martyrdom is in a carmen (lyric poem) written by the poet Prudentius, who wrote a series of lyric poems, Peristephanon ("Crowns of Martyrdom"), on Hispanic and Roman martyrs. Prudentius describes how Vincent was brought to trial along with his bishop Valerius, and that since Valerius had a speech impediment, Vincent spoke for both, but that his outspoken featureless manner so angered the governor that Vincent was tortured and martyred, though his aged bishop was only exiled.

According to legend, after being martyred, ravens protected St. Vincent's body from being devoured by vultures, until his followers could recover the body. His body was taken to what is now known as Cape St. Vincent; a shrine was erected over his grave, which continued to be guarded by flocks of ravens. In the time of Muslim rule in the Iberian Peninsula, the Arab geographer Al-Idrisi noted this constant guard by ravens, for which the place was named by him كنيسة الغراب "Kanīsah al-Ghurāb" (Church of the Raven). King Afonso I of Portugal (1139–1185) had the body of the saint exhumed in 1173 and brought it by ship to the Monastery of São Vicente de Fora in Lisbon. This transfer of the relics is depicted on the coat of arms of Lisbon.[1]

Legacy and veneration

St. Vincent of Saragossa
(Menologion of Basil II,
10th century)
Three elaborated hagiographies, all based ultimately on a lost 5th-century Passion, circulated in the Middle Ages

Though Vincent's tomb in Valencia became the earliest center of his cult, he was also honoured at his birthplace and his reputation spread from Saragossa. The city of Oviedo in Asturias grew about the church dedicated to Vincent. Beyond the Pyrenees, he was venerated first in the vicinity of Béziers, and at Narbonne. Castres became an important stop on the international pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela when the relics of Vincent were transferred to its new abbey-church dedicated to Saint Benedict from Saragossa in 863, under the patronage of Salomon, count of Cerdanya.

Reliquary containing the leg bone of
St. Vincent, located in the
Treasury of Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris
A church was built in honour of Vincent, by the Catholic bishops of Visigothic Iberia, when they succeeded in converting King Reccared and his nobles to Trinitarian Christianity. When the Moors came in 711, the church was razed, and its materials incorporated in the Mezquita, the "Great Mosque" of Cordova.

The Cape Verde island of São Vicente, a former Portuguese colony, was named in his honour.

The island of St. Vincent in the Caribbean, now a part of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, was named by Christopher Columbus after Vincent of Saragossa, as the island was discovered by Europeans on 22 January, St. Vincent's feast day.

The 15th-century Portuguese artist Nuno Gonçalves depicted him in his Saint Vincent Panels. A small fresco cycle of stories of St. Vincent is in the apse of the Basilica di San Vincenzo near Cantù, in northern Italy.

Vincent is also the patron of vintners and vinegar-makers.

In Valencia, Spain, there is a long road called Calle San Vicente Mártir, or in English, Saint Vincent the Martyr Street named after the aforementioned saint.

There is also the small town of São Vicente on the Portuguese island of Madeira named after this saint.

Saint Vincent is the patron of the Order of the Deacons of the Catholic Diocese of Bergamo (Italy).

Here's the peek-in for this feast day to the SSM Breviary:

This is a painting of San Vicente de Zaragoza, by an anonymous XVIth century artist:

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