Florian is the patron saint of what
Saint Florian is one of the most popular Catholic saints. He is considered the patron saint of the fire brigade and is happy to call when a fire hazard is to be averted. This particular role is presumably based on a historical misinterpretation of the sacred. It is certain that Saint Florian lived in what is now Austria and died a martyr's death there.
The worldly life of Florianus
The Celt Florianus was born in a village near Vienna in the 3rd century AD, when this province was part of the Roman Empire. The exact date of birth of the saint is unknown.
In the course of his life he made a career in the Roman provincial administration and became the governor's chancellery. The extraordinary thing was: Florianus avowed himself to the religion Christianitywhich was (still) officially banned in the Roman Empire. It is unclear whether his Christian faith was the reason for an early removal from office or whether Florianus retired for reasons of age. In any case, the most important part of his saints story takes place after he has already retired from civil service.
Florianus learned that 40 Christians had been captured and tortured in the town of Lauriacum (today's Lorch). In the attempt to save his fellow believers, he was in turn targeted by the Roman criminal authorities. The saint - who is now also known as "Florian von Lorch" - should renounce Christianity. When he refused, they tied a millstone around his neck and threw him into the river Enns, where he drowned. This happened on May 4th 304, the commemorative and name day of St. Florian has been.
Miracles and legends
Stories of miraculous events, which have been added or changed over and over again over the centuries of tradition, surround the death of the martyr in particular. A core of the legend is that Florian's body washed up on the bank where an eagle guarded him until a woman named Valeria could properly bury him. On the way to the burial place, the dead Florian supposedly let a spring spring up, namely today's Florianbrunnen in St. Florian.
Some traditions report that the soldier who threw Florian into the river water was blinded as a punishment. Possibly the original story just wanted to express that Florian's "eyes broke", that is, he died.
Florian and the fire department
In addition to the churches, many fire brigades in Germany and Austria celebrate their day on Florian Day, May 4th Patron saint. However, Florian did not have an extraordinary relationship with fire, but rather with water. The reason for the misinterpretation is probably the water bucket with which Florian was often depicted in early pictures. The bucket was hardly intended as an indication of fire extinguishing, but rather as a Drowning symbol in the Enns.
Saint Florian Principle
The saint is also not to blame for the principle of action named after him. The motto "Saint Florian / Spare‘ my house / Ignite and’re on! "Corresponds neither to the Christian teaching nor to the way of life of the martyr, who had little to do with fire and ignition anyway ...
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