Author: St. Florian School
Florian von Lorch was born around 250AD and was martyred for his Faith around 304 AD. He lived around the town of Enns near the River Enns which is in Present day Austria. He converted to Christianity when it was still a minority Religion. It is said that as a youth, Florian was able to put out a fire in a house through the power of his prayers alone. It is also said that he saved and entire city from flames with only a single bucket of water. Because of these events Florian has been the patron saint of firemen and chimney sweeps since the twelfth century.
As a youth, Florian joined the Roman Army. Later he would serve as an officer of the Roman Army, and occupied a high administrative post in Noricum, now part of Austria, He suffered death for his Faith in the days of the Roman Emporer 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 after making a bold confession, he was twice scourged, half-flayed alive, set on fire. He survived all of these torments through his unyielding faith. Finally, Florian thrown into the river Enns with a millstone tied around his neck. His body, found by a pious woman who returned it to dry land. An eagle mysteriously watched over him until he was buried. Florian was eventually removed to the Augustinian Abbey of St. Florian, near Linz.
Later, St. Florian was moved 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 a patron of Poland as well as of Linz, Upper Austria. He also holds patronage of firemen, brewers, coopers, chimney-sweeps, and soap-boilers. He is invoked against bad harvests, battles, fire, flood, and storm. He is also the patron of those in danger from water and flood, and of drowning.
There has been 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 invoked as a powerful protector in danger from fire or water. His feast day is May 4th.