Saint Quirinus



Feast Day : 25 March

(A.D. 269)

Quirinus is said, but the statement is palpably false, to have been the son of the emperor Philip, and to have been converted by his Christian mother, Severa. Putting this idle fable aside, we know of Quirinus only that he was executed with the sword in prison in 269, and the body was thrown into the Tiber, but was recovered by a priest named Pastor, who buried it in the Pontiani cemetery, whence it was removed in the pontificate of pope S. Zacharias (March 15th), and it found a shrine and resting-place eventually in the monastery of Tengern-see, in Bavaria. A spring of naphtha rising there goes by the name of Quirinus-oil.

The S. Quirinus of Rome commemorated on March 30th, according to the Roman Martyrology, is supposed to have been a military tribune, chiefly from the fact that he has been represented in armour seated on horseback. He is the patron Saint of Cologne, Correggio, and Neuss. This S. Quirinus is often represented with a falcon, which circumstance has been said to indicate his high birth, and has also led to his being reputed to have been of the Imperial family, and so being identified with the S. Quirinus commemorated on March 25th. The real reason for the falcon's presence seems, however, to lie in the story related of his martyrdom.

Quirinus The Tribune was converted and baptized by pope S. Alexander I., and was condemned to have his tongue, hands, and feet cut off. According to the popular legend, which is often represented in art, his tongue was offered to a falcon, but the bird refused to eat it : the Acts say nothing of it. The hands and feet were in like manner cast to dogs, and popular tradition adds that they refused to devour them. Afterwards he was drawn by oxen to the place of final execution, where his head was struck off. Relics at Neuss, in the archdiocese of Cologne, and anciently in the church of S. Madeleine at Troyes, in France, also in the church of S. Pantaleon, in Cologne, where is a portion of the skull, in that of S. Gereon, and that of the Jesuits in the same city; at Silburg, at Zulpich, at Louvain, Tongres, Floriefife, at Bologna, and in the church of S. Balbina in Rome.


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