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June 4

St Quirinus of Sescia - June 4

Saint Quirinus of Sescia

Bishop, Martyr

(Unknown – Around 304-309)

“I make no account of such injunctions, because they are impious; and, contrary to God’s commandments, would oblige us his servants to offer sacrifice to imaginary divinities. The God whom I serve is everywhere; he is in heaven, on earth, and in the sea. He is above all things, containing everything within himself; and by him alone everything subsists.”

Saint Quirinus of Sescia

Saint’s Life Story

His Life 

Quirinus, also know as Quirinius, has little known of his birth and early years except that he was born in the 3rd century. 

Bishop of Sescia

Quirinus was bishop of Sescia (or Siscia), a city in Pannonia, situate upon the River Save. Sescia or Ciscia, Pannonia is now Sisak, Croatia.

Imprisoned

As Quirinus had been informed that orders were out for his arrest, he left the city. However, Quirinus was pursued, captured and brought before the magistrate Maximus. While imprisoned, Quirinus managed to convert his jailer, named Marcellus, to Christianity. After three days, the governor of Pannonia, Amantius, ordered him taken to Sabaria (present-day Szombathely, Hungary).  

The “Acts”

The “acts” which record Quirinus’ trial, sufferings and death are substantially genuine, although they have undergone amplification and interpolations at the hands of later copyists.  His acts give the following account of his triumph:

The holy prelate having intelligence that Maximus, the chief magistrate of the city, had given an order for his apprehension, left the town, but was pursued, taken, and carried before him.

Maximus asked him whither he was flying?

Quirinus answered: “I did not fly, but went away to obey the order of my master. For it is written: When they persecute you in one city, fly to another.”

Maximus said: “Who gave you that order?”

Quirinus. “Jesus Christ, who is the true God.”

Maximus. “Know you not that the emperor’s orders would find you out anywhere? Nor can he whom you call the true God help or rescue you when you are fallen into their hands, as you now see to your cost.”

Quirinus. “The God whom we adore is always with us wherever we are, and can always help us. He was with me when I was taken, and is now with me. It is he that strengthens me, and now answers you by my mouth.”

Maximus. “You talk much, and are guilty thereby of delay in executing the commands of our sovereigns: read their divine edicts, and comply with what they enjoin.”

Quirinus. “I make no account of such injunctions, because they are impious; and, contrary to God’s commandments, would oblige us his servants to offer sacrifice to imaginary divinities. The God whom I serve is everywhere; he is in heaven, on earth, and in the sea. He is above all things, containing everything within himself; and by him alone everything subsists.”

Maximus said: “Old age has weakened your understanding, and you are deluded by idle tales. See, here is incense; offer it to the gods, or you will have many affronts to bear, and will suffer a cruel death.”

Quirinus. “That disgrace I account my glory; and that death will purchase me eternal life. I respect only the altar of my God, on which I have often offered to him a sacrifice of sweet odour.”

Maximus. “I perceive you are distracted, and that your madness will be the cause of your death. Sacrifice to the gods.”

“No,” said Quirinus, “I do not sacrifice to devils.”

Maximus then ordered him to be beaten with clubs, and the sentence was executed with great cruelty. The judge said to him under that torment: “Now confess the power of the gods whom the great Roman empire adores. Obey, and I will make you the priest of Jupiter.”

Quirinus replied: “I am now performing the true functions of a priest, in offering myself a sacrifice to the living God. I feel not the blows which my body has received: they give me no torment. I am ready to suffer much greater tortures, that they who have been committed to my charge may be encouraged to follow me to eternal life.”

Jailer, Marcellus, Converted to Christianity by Quirinus

Maximus commanded that he should be carried back to prison and loaded with heavy chains till he grew wiser. The martyr in the dungeon made this prayer: “I thank thee, O Lord, that I have borne reproaches for thy sake; and I beseech thee to let those who are in this prison know that I adore the true God, and that there is no other besides thee.” Accordingly at midnight a great light was seen in the prison, which being perceived by Marcellus the gaoler, he threw himself at the feet of Saint Quirinus, and said, with tears: “Pray to the Lord for me; for I believe that there is no other God but him whom you adore.” The holy bishop, after a long exhortation, signed him in the name of Jesus Christ. This expression of the acts seems to imply, that he conferred on him the sacraments of baptism and confirmation.

Bell Removed and Never Rediscovered

This magistrate, Maximus, not having authority to put the martyr to death, after three days’ imprisonment, sent him to Amantius, governor of the province, called the First Pannonia. Quirinus was carried in chains through all the towns that lay on the Danube, till being brought before Amantius. On his arrival at Sabaria, Amantius ordered him to be brought before him on the public theatre, and having read the records of what had passed between him and Maximus, asked the saint if he owned the truth of the contents, and whether or no he persisted in his former confession of the Christian faith? The saint answered: “I have confessed the true God at Siscia: I have never adored any other. Him I carry in my heart, and no man on earth shall ever be able to separate me from him.”  

His Martyrdom

Amantius endeavoured to overcome his resolution by large promises,. By the consideration of Quirinus’ old age: but finding him inflexible, Amantius sentenced Quirinus to be thrown into the river (River Raab) with a millstone at his neck. Instead of sinking to the bottom, Quirinus continued a long time above water, with the millstone at his neck, exhorting the Christians to continue steadfast in the faith, and to dread neither torments, nor death itself. But perceiving that he sunk not at all, Quirinus began to fear he should lose the crown of martyrdom. He thereupon addressed himself to Christ in these words: “It is not wonderful for thee, O almighty Jesus, to stop the course of rivers as thou didst that of Jordan, nor to make men walk upon the water as Peter did on the sea, by thy divine power. These people have had a sufficient proof in me of the effect of thy power. Grant me what now remains, and is to be preferred to all things, the happiness of dying for thee, Jesus Christ my God.” He soon after sunk to the bottom. His body was found a little below the place, and laid in a chapel built on the bank. 

Upon the incursion of the barbarians into Pannonia at the end of the fourth century and at the beginning of the fifth, his relics were taken to Rome and deposited in a mausoleum or vaulted chamber named Platonia, behind the apse of the Basilica of San Sebastiano fuori le mura on the Appian Way.

Saint Jerom makes honourable mention of this saint in his Chronicle, upon the year 309. Prudentius calls him an eminent martyr. Fortunatus ranks him among the most illustrious martyrs of the church. He suffered on the 4th of June, 303, or 304.

Born:                  Unknown 3rd Century

Died:                   Around 304-309 in Sabaria, Pannonia (Szombathely, Hungary)

Beatified:           Pre-Congregation

Canonized:        Pre-Congregation

Feast Day:          June 4

Patron Saint:    Against Evil Spirits; Obsession; Possessed People; Sisak, Croatia

Source:

Reflection

Saint Quirinus of Sescia, people wanted to make an example of you by getting you to deny your Christian beliefs. Even being imprisoned, you continued to serve God, converting your jailer, Marcellus. When interrogated by officials, Saint Quirinius stated “I am now performing the true functions of a priest, in offering myself a sacrifice to the living God. I feel not the blows which my body has received: they give me no torment. I am ready to suffer much greater tortures, that they who have been committed to my charge may be encouraged to follow me to eternal life.” 

Have you “cut any corners” on your own fidelity to God? While we may not be called to be martyrs, we are all called to serve God in own ways praising God through both words and actions. 

Prayers

St. Quirinus of Sescia, you are an amazing model of steadfast faith under stressful situations of being beaten and imprisoned. St. Quirinius, may you intercede for us as we pray for God’s grace to give us the strengthen to remain strong in our faith today during whatever situations we encounter so that we may a Christian example for others.

St. Quirinus of Sescia, pray for us. Amen.

Saint Links 

Bartleby.com – Rev. Alban Butler Volume VI: June. The Lives of the Saints. 1866. June 4 St. Quirinus, Bishop and Martyr – Bartleby.com

Catholic Online – St. Quirinus of Siscia

CatholicSaints.Info – Saint Quirinus of Sescia

CatholicSaints.Info – Saints of the Day – Quirinus of Croatia by Katherine I Rabenstein

Good News Ministry – June 4 – Saint Quirinus

Hungarian Saints – St Quirinus, Bishop Of Siscia, Martyr A.D. 308

New Advent – Kirsch, J.P. (1911). Sts. Quirinus. In The Catholic Encyclopedia

RC Spirituality – St Quirinus of Croatia

Wikipedia – Quirinus of Sescia

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