jeudi 25 octobre 2012

Saint CRÉPIN et Saint CRÉPINIEN, martyrs


SAINT CRÉPIN et SAINT CRÉPINIEN

Cordonniers, Martyrs

(285 ou 286)

Crépin et Crépinien, cordonniers, faisaient des chaussures pour les pauvres, quand on les saisit comme chrétiens et on les conduisit à l'empereur Maximien, qui était de passage dans le nord des Gaules:

"D'où êtes-vous, leur dit le tyran, et quelle religion professez-vous?

? Nous sommes, répondirent-ils, de nobles Romains qui avons émigré dans les Gaules pour y prêcher la foi chrétienne.

? Si vous persistez dans cette folie, leur dit l'empereur, je vous ferai périr d'une mort cruelle: si vous sacrifiez aux dieux, je vous comblerai de richesses et d'honneurs.

? Tu crois nous effrayer par tes menaces, répondent les saints martyrs; mais, pour nous, le Christ est la vie, et la mort est une grâce. Quant aux richesses et aux honneurs, nous les avons quittés volontairement; garde-les pour tes amis. Si toi-même tu ne renonces pas à tes dieux, tu brûleras au fond de l'enfer."

Transporté de rage, Maximien abandonna les deux chrétiens à l'un des plus cruels exécuteurs des persécutions contre les chrétiens, nommé Rictiovarus, pour les torturer avec une violence extraordinaire. Rictiovarus leur fit enfoncer sous les ongles des roseaux pointus; mais ces roseaux se retournèrent contre les bourreaux et en tuèrent ou blessèrent plusieurs; il les fit jeter ensuite, en plein hiver, avec des meules de moulin au cou, dans une rivière glacée, mais ils surnagèrent et ne sentirent pas le froid.

Ce fut ensuite le tour du supplice de la chaudière remplie de plomb fondu; ce supplice fut inoffensif pour eux, comme les autres, mais une goutte du terrible liquide jaillit sur l'oeil du tyran, qui ressentit une affreuse douleur et devint borgne. Sa fureur lui donna le courage de poursuivre son oeuvre barbare, et les deux généreux martyrs furent jetés dans une autre chaudière bouillante, remplie d'un mélange de poix, de graisse et d'huile; ils y entrèrent en chantant de pieux cantiques, et des anges vinrent les en faire sortir. Rictiovarus, fou de rage et sans doute saisi du démon, se jeta au milieu du brasier et s'y tordit dans le désespoir. Telle fut la fin de ce grand persécuteur, qui fit périr tant de chrétiens dans les Gaules.

Quant à Crépin et Crépinien, ils eurent la tête tranchée le lendemain. Le culte de saint Crépin et de saint Crépinien est un de ceux qui sont restés les plus populaires; des confréries ouvrières furent établies sous leur vocable, de nombreuses églises bâties en leur honneur; d'éclatants miracles furent obtenus par leur intercession.

Abbé L. Jaud, Vie des Saints pour tous les jours de l'année, Tours, Mame, 1950.

SOURCE : http://www.magnificat.ca/cal/fran/10-25.htm

Saints Crépin et Crépinien

Martyrs à Soissons ( 285)

Venus de Rome, ils se firent cordonniers pour mieux annoncer l'Evangile, ils chaussaient gratis les pauvres et les riches ne connaissaient pas de meilleures chaussures. Tous ils s'attardaient avec plaisir pour entendre parler du Christ. Les français les disent avoir vécu dans la région de Soissons. Les anglais les font vivre dans le Kent. Shakespeare en fait la louange dans «Henri V» et dans «Jules César». Mais tous s'accordent à dire qu'ils donnèrent le témoignage du martyre. Leur «Passion» précise même que leurs bourreaux coupèrent leur peau en lanières. Avec eux, nous fêtons saint Rufin et saint Valère, qui, eux, choisirent d'être gardiens de grenier à blé afin de parler plus facilement avec les paysans des alentours. Ils donnèrent aussi le témoignage suprême de la foi.

Saint Crépin et Saint Crépinien, cordonniers, martyrs (285 ou 286) - diocèse de Soissons, Laon et Saint-Quentin.

Un internaute nous signale: "Ces deux saints ont été adoptés par les Anglais sur ordre de Henri V car leur fête correspond au jour de la victoire anglaise d'Azincourt"

À Soissons, les saints Crépin et Crépinien, martyrs.

Martyrologe romain

SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/2076/Saints-Crepin-et-Crepinien.html


Saint Crépin et Saint Crépinien, cordonniers, martyrs ( 285 ou 286)

Crépin et Crépinien, cordonniers, faisaient des chaussures pour les pauvres, quand on les saisit comme chrétiens et on les conduisit à l'empereur Maximien, qui était de passage dans le nord des Gaules :
  • "D'où êtes-vous, leur dit le tyran, et quelle religion professez-vous ?
  • Nous sommes, répondirent-ils, de nobles Romains qui ont émigré dans les Gaules pour y prêcher la foi chrétienne.
  • Si vous persistez dans cette folie, leur dit l'empereur, je vous ferai périr d'une mort cruelle ; si vous vous sacrifiez aux dieux, je vous comblerai de richesses et d'honneurs.
  • Tu crois nous effrayer par tes menaces, répondirent les saints martyrs ; mais, pour nous, le Christ est la vie, et la mort est une grâce. Quant aux richesses et aux honneurs, nous les avons quittés volontairement ; garde-les pour tes amis. Si toi-même tu ne renonces pas à tes dieux, tu brûleras au fond de l'enfer."
Transporté de rage, Maximien abandonna les deux chrétiens à l'un des plus cruels exécuteurs des persécutions contre les chrétiens, nommé Rictiovarus, pour les torturer avec une violence extraordinaire. Rictiovarus leur fit enfoncer sous les ongles des roseaux pointus ; mais ces roseaux se retournèrent contre les bourreaux et en tuèrent ou blessèrent plusieurs ; il les fit jeter ensuite, en plein hiver avec des meules de moulin au cou, dans une rivière glacée, mais ils surnagèrent et ne sentirent pas le froid.

Ce fut ensuite le tour du supplice de la chaudière remplie de plomb fondu ; ce supplice fut inoffensif pour eux, comme les autres mais une goutte du terrible liquide jaillit sur l'œil du tyran, qui ressentit une affreuse douleur et devin borgne. Sa fureur lui donna le courage de poursuivre son œuvre barbare, et les deux généreux martyrs furent jetés dans une autre chaudière bouillante, remplie d'un mélange de poix, de graisse et d'huile ; ils y entrèrent en chantant de pieux cantiques et des anges vinrent les en faire sortir. Rictiovarus, fou de rage et sans doute saisi du démon, se jeta au milieu du brasier et s'y tordit dans le désespoir. Telle fut la fin de ce grand persécuteur, qui fit périr tant de chrétiens dans les gaules.

Quand à Crépin et Crépinien, ils eurent la tête tranchée le lendemain sur les bords de l'Aisne le 25 octobre. Le culte de saint Crépin et Crépinien est un de ceux qui sont restés les plus populaires ; des confréries ouvrières furent établies sous leur vocable, de nombreuses églises bâties en leur honneur ; d'éclatants miracles furent obtenus par leurs intercessions.


SOURCE : http://www.soissons.catholique.fr/l-eglise-dans-l-aisne/la-decouverte-du-diocese/les-saints-du-diocese/les-differents-saints-du-diocese/saint-crepin-et-saint-crepinien.html


Ambrosius Francken (I) (circa 1544/1545–1618). Le Martyr of des saints Crépin et Crépinien de Soissons

LES ACTES DE SAINT CRÉPIN ET DE SAINT CRÉPINIEN


(l'an de Jésus Christ 287.)

fêtés le 25 octobre

Sous les empereurs Dioclétien et Maximien, qui avaient formé ensemble un concert impie pour attaquer l'Église du Christ, les bienheureux Quentin, Lucien, Rufin, Valère et Eugène, tous issus de familles nobles en la ville de Rome, se transportèrent dans les Gaules pour y prêcher la foi du Christ ; et c'est de là, qu'après avoir terminé leurs travaux apostoliques par un heureux martyre, ils s'envolèrent dans le Sein de Dieu. Ils étaient accompagnés de deux frères, Crépin et Crépinien, qui ne leur cédaient en rien, ni pour l'éclat de la vaillance, ni pour la vivacité de la foi. Ceux-ci eurent pour partage la ville de Soissons. Mais, parce qu'ils étaient chrétiens et que la persécution était alors dans toute sa violence, ils ne purent obtenir ni l'hospitalité ni les services les plus indispensables. Cependant, comme ils voulaient vivre du travail de leurs mains, conformément aux prescriptions de l'Apôtre, ils apprirent le métier de cordonnier, comme plus paisible ; et, par la Grâce du Seigneur, ils surpassèrent tellement les hommes de la même profession qu'ils excitaient l'admiration et les sympathies d'un grand nombre de personnes, qui voyaient avec surprise qu'ils n'exigeaient jamais de prix pour leur travail, bien que leur habileté les rendit supérieurs aux autres cordonniers par l'élégance qu'ils savaient donner à leurs chaussures. Une telle nouveauté leur attira bien des visiteurs et des chalands ; quelques-uns néanmoins venaient souvent les voir, non pas tant pour leurs besoins personnels ou pour admirer leur travail, que dans le dessein d'entendre la parole de Dieu. Et ainsi il arriva que, par la Grâce du Christ et par les prédications de ses saints artisans, un grand nombre d'habitants quittèrent leurs erreurs et le culte des idoles, avec un vif désir de rendre gloire et amour au Dieu vivant et véritable.

Cette nouvelle étant parvenue aux oreilles de l'impie Maximien, il envoya aussitôt à leur recherche Rictiovarus, le grand ministre de ses cruautés. Celui-ci les trouva à Soissons occupés à coudre des chaussures pour les pauvres. Il leur demanda incontinent quels dieux ils adoraient. Ils lui répondirent qu'ils adoraient le même Dieu, qui est l'unique et le véritable ; mais que, pour Jupiter, Apollon, Mercure et autres semblables monstres, ils ne leur rendaient ni culte ni adoration. Sur cette réponse, Rictiovarus les fit charger de chaînes et les conduisit à l'empereur. Maximien ordonna d'introduire ces contempteurs des édits impériaux, et il leur dit : "Dites-moi quelle est votre origine et votre religion ?" Les saints répondirent : "Nés à Rome d'une famille noble, nous sommes venus dans les Gaules pour l'amour du Christ, qui, avec le Père et le saint Esprit, est un seul Dieu, Créateur de toutes choses, dont le règne s'étend dans les siècles des siècles. Nous Le servons dans la foi avec un dévouement sans bornes, et nous désirons, tant que l'esprit animera ces membres, persévérer dans son culte et son service." À ces paroles, Maximien, plein de colère, leur dit : "Par la vertu des dieux, si vous persévérez dans cette folie, après vous avoir tourmentés par beaucoup de supplices, je vous ferai périr par une mort cruelle ; car je veux faire de vous un exemple. Si au contraire vous sacrifiez aux dieux, je vous comblerai de richesses et d'honneurs." Les saints martyrs répondirent : "Tu ne saurais nous effrayer par tes menaces, nous, pour qui le Christ est la vie, et la mort un gain. Quant aux richesses et aux honneurs que tu nous promets, donne-les aux tiens ; autrefois nous les avons foulés aux pieds, et nous nous réjouissons de les avoir ainsi méprisés. Toi aussi, si tu connaissais le Christ, si tu L'aimais, tu renoncerais facilement non seulement aux richesses et même à l'empire, mais encore au vain culte des démons, et sa Bonté te donnerait une vie éternelle. Mais si tu persistes dans ces vanités impies, tu seras précipité dans le tartare avec ces méchants démons dont tu honores les simulacres." Maximien dit alors : "C'est bien assez que vous ayez perdu tant de personnes par vos maléfices et vos détestables artifices." Les martyrs reprirent : "Tu ignores, misérable, que c'est le Dieu si bon qui a permis que tu fusses élevé à l'empire, bien qu'indigne ; mais c'est en vain que tu redoubles d'efforts pour détruire sur la terre son royaume immortel."

Maximien, transporté de fureur, les livra à Rictiovarus et lui recommanda de les torturer cruellement, et de les faire périr de la mort la plus horrible. Aussitôt le féroce ministre du barbare tyran ordonna de les suspendre avec des poulies et de les frapper avec des bâtons noueux. Durant ce supplice, les martyrs, élevant leurs coeurs vers les choses célestes, imploraient le Secours et l'Assistance du Christ. Rictiovarus, les entendant adresser leurs prières au Christ, au lieu des cris que la vivacité de la douleur devait leur arracher, en fut outré de dépit ; et incontinent, il donna l'ordre de leur enfoncer sous les ongles des roseaux pointus, et de leur couper sur le dos des lanières de chair. Ses satellites se mirent aussitôt à l'oeuvre, et poussèrent avec force ces instruments de torture : mais les martyrs, au milieu de supplices si atroces, tout joyeux d'espérance et patients dans les tribulations, conjurèrent le Seigneur de les délivrer de l'homme inique et rusé ; et le Seigneur, toujours plein de bonté, exauça aussitôt leur prière. Soudain, les roseaux aigus s'élancèrent de leurs doigts avec tant d'impétuosité que, si on en croit la tradition, ils tuèrent quelques-uns des bourreaux et en blessèrent plusieurs autres. Mais Rictiovarus, que la fureur faisait extravaguer, commanda d'attacher des pierres meulières au cou des martyrs et de les précipiter dans la rivière de l'Aisne, afin que la glace leur fût un nouveau tourment. Les martyrs en furent ravis de joie. Mais, protégés qu'ils étaient du bouclier de la Puissance divine, et les créatures inanimées obéissant à leur Créateur, ni les eaux ne purent les submerger, ni les lourdes pierres les accabler, ni la glace leur causer aucune douleur. Bien plus, ils se sentaient à leur aise comme dans un bain que l'on prend, durant l'été, dans un fleuve ; et, s'étant débarrassés des pierres meulières, ils passèrent sains et saufs sur la rive opposée.

A la vue de ce prodige, Rictiovarus, que l'esprit malin enflammait de colère, donna l'ordre de les saisir et de les garder enchaînés dans la prison, tandis qu'on ferait fondre du plomb dans une chaudière. Quand il fut liquéfié, il y fit jeter les martyrs. Mais le feu ne saurait atteindre ceux qui sont sous la garde de l'invincible Main du Christ. Les saints martyrs plongés dans le plomb en fusion se livrèrent à la prière, et, à l'imitation des trois enfants qui louaient le Seigneur dans la fournaise de la Chaldée, ils chantèrent et dirent : "Secours-nous, ô Dieu notre Sauveur, et, pour la gloire de ton Nom, délivre- nous, Seigneur, et sois miséricordieux pour nos péchés à cause de ton Nom, de peur que les gentils ne disent : Où est leur dieu ?" Tandis qu'ils priaient, une goutte de plomb fondu sauta dans un des yeux de Rictiovarus, et l'aveugla en lui causant une cuisante douleur. Mais ce malheureux, au lieu de chercher, comme il devait, un remède pour son âme et pour son corps, n'en devint que plus furieux, et il ordonna de faire fondre un mélange de poix, de graisse et d'huile, et d'y jeter les martyrs. Ses ordres furent aussitôt mis à exécution. Mais ces bienheureux, pleins d'allégresse dans l'immobilité de leur espérance, dirent avec confiance au Seigneur  "Tu peux, Seigneur, nous délivrer de ces tourments de l'impie Rictiovarus. Donc, de même que Tu as voulu que nous souffrions pour la confession de ton saint Nom, ainsi daigne nous retirer sans lésion de ce supplice." À peine avaient-ils achevé leur prière, qu'un ange apparut et les retira sans douleur de ces matières embrasées.

L'impie Rictiovarus, voyant qu'il n'obtenait rien par les tourments les plus recherchés, se précipita de rage dans le feu, et quitta la vie par cette mort affreuse. Et ce fut sans doute par un juste jugement de Dieu que celui qui avait fait mourir par le supplice du feu un si grand nombre de martyrs du Christ, périt lui-même par cet élément, pour ensuite être précipité dans les flammes du brasier éternel qui ne s'éteindront jamais. Les martyrs déjà victorieux voyant cette mort déplorable, prièrent le Seigneur, qu'après les avoir ainsi délivrés des assauts du combat, Il daigne leur ordonner, dans sa Bonté, de s'envoler vers Lui. Or, cette même nuit, il leur fut révélé d'en haut que, le lendemain, dès le point du jour, ils recevraient le prix de leurs travaux et de leur glorieuse confession. L'événement vérifia bientôt la réalité de cette vision ; car Maximien, ayant appris la fin tragique de Rictiovarus donna l'ordre de trancher la tête aux saints martyrs. Ceux-ci, se voyant sur le point de mourir, rendirent grâces à Dieu de ce que, après les avoir délivrés du siècle, Il voulait bien leur ordonner d'aller à Lui. Et c'est ainsi qu'après avoir été décapités, ils quittèrent la vie le huit des calendes de novembre.

Leurs corps furent abandonnés à la voracité des chiens et des oiseaux ; mais, comme ils étaient sous la Garde du Christ, ils ne reçurent aucune atteinte. La même nuit, ainsi qu'il est rapporté, un pauvre vieillard, qui avait une soeur aussi fort âgée, reçut d'un ange l'ordre de recueillir les corps des saints martyrs et de les confier avec un grand soin à la sépulture. Le vieillard se leva sans hésiter, se rendit, avec sa soeur, au lieu du martyre ; et comme les saints avaient été mis à mort sur les bords de la rivière de l'Aisne, il leur fut facile de transporter les corps sur une barque jusqu'à leur domicile. Mais que pouvaient faire deux vieillards indigents, sans ressources, sans vigueur, incapables de se procurer une barque, ignorant l'art de la conduire, et à qui l'âge avait ôté les forces nécessaires pour naviguer contre le courant de la rivière ? Étant enfin arrivés pendant la nuit sur le lieu du martyre, ils trouvèrent les corps entièrement intacts, et ils aperçurent une barque sur le rivage. Se sentant alors animés d'une

grande confiance, ils prirent chacun un des corps en même temps, et marchèrent d'un pas si léger et si sûr, qu'on eut dit qu'ils ne portaient aucun fardeau, mais plutôt que leur fardeau les aidait à marcher. Ils déposèrent donc les corps saints dans la barque, et les conduisirent à leur logis avec une grande vitesse, bien que remontant le cours de la rivière et qu'ils fussent sans rames ni gouvernail. Arrivés chez eux, ils y déposèrent les saintes reliques, en grande allégresse, dans un lieu secret. Personne ne doute que le Christ n'ait Lui-même donné cette force surhumaine à ces pauvres vieillards pour la gloire de ses martyrs, qui avaient de bon coeur souffert la mort pour Lui en ce monde, et qu'Il n'ait voulu Se servir du ministère de ces personnes humbles et débiles pour tenir cachés quelque temps ces précieux corps, les réservant ainsi pour être dans la suite les protecteurs et le refuge des fidèles.

En effet, à peine eut-Il fait cesser la persécution, qu'ils furent manifestés. Les vieillards qui avaient dérobé ce trésor aux impies, le révélèrent alors aux fidèles, leur annonçant avec grande joie qu'ils possédaient dans leur chaumière les corps des saints martyrs Crépin et Crépinien. A peine la nouvelle en fut-elle divulguée que le peuple fidèle accourut en foule, pénétré de pieux sentiments, à la demeure des vieillards qu'on eût prise alors pour un oratoire, et qui était devenu plus en honneur que la cour ou le palais d'un roi. Or, le clergé et le peuple ayant tenu conseil, il fut décidé qu'on enlèverait de ce lieu les saints corps. Après qu'on eut préparé des tombeaux dignes de les recevoir, on les plaça sur une barque magnifiquement décorée, et tout le peuple les accompagnait, chantant joyeusement des psaumes. Et comme si le Seigneur eût voulu raffermir la foi de ce peuple religieux et augmenter son allégresse, la barque qui portait les saintes reliques avait à peine touché le rivage qu'un enfant aveugle, sourd, muet et boiteux, se trouva guéri, dès qu'il eut touché avec confiance la bière qui les contenait ; il se joignit aussitôt à la foule et louait Dieu avec elle, marchant librement et sans la moindre infirmité. On renferma les corps des martyrs dans des tombeaux préparés ; plus tard, on y érigea une vaste église, dans laquelle le Christ, Seigneur et Dieu, Fils de Dieu, par les prières de ses martyrs, écoute les supplications de ceux qui les invoquent et rend la santé aux malades. A Lui appartiennent l'honneur, la domination, la gloire impérissable, avec le Père souverain et le saint Esprit, dans les siècles des siècles. Amen.


SOURCE : http://orthodoxievco.net/ecrits/vies/martyrs/octobre/crepin.htm





Saints Crépin et Crépinien

Cordonniers et martyrs 

(† v. 285)

Crépin et Crépinien étaient des cordonniers romains. Ils faisaient des chaussures pour les pauvres, et vinrent à Soissons annoncer l'Évangile. Ils ont été martyrisés sous l'empereur Maximien.

Crépin et Crépinien furent saisis comme chrétiens et conduits à l'empereur Maximien, qui était de passage dans le nord des Gaules : 

« D'où êtes-vous, leur demanda Maximien, et quelle religion professez-vous ? 

“Nous sommes, répondirent-ils, de nobles romains qui avons émigré dans les Gaules pour y prêcher la foi chrétienne

Si vous persistez dans cette folie, leur dit l'empereur, je vous ferai périr d'une mort cruelle : si vous sacrifiez aux dieux, je vous comblerai de richesses et d'honneurs. 

Tu crois nous effrayer par tes menaces
, répondent les saints martyrs ; mais, pour nous, le Christ est la vie, et la mort est une grâce. Quant aux richesses et aux honneurs, nous les avons quittés volontairement ; garde-les pour tes amis. Si toi-même tu ne renonces pas à tes dieux, tu brûleras au fond de l'enfer.” »

Transporté de rage, Maximien abandonna les deux chrétiens à l'un des plus cruels exécuteurs des persécutions contre les chrétiens, nommé Rictiovarus, pour les torturer avec une violence extraordinaire. Rictiovarus leur fit enfoncer sous les ongles des roseaux pointus ; mais ces roseaux se retournèrent contre les bourreaux et en blessèrent plusieurs ; il les fit jeter ensuite, en plein hiver, avec des meules de moulin au cou, dans une rivière glacée, mais ils surnagèrent et ne sentirent pas le froid.

Ce fut ensuite le tour du supplice de la chaudière remplie de plomb fondu ; ce supplice fut inoffensif pour eux, comme les autres, mais une goutte jaillit sur l'œil du tortionnaire, qui en devint borgne. Sa fureur lui donna le courage de poursuivre, et les deux généreux martyrs furent jetés dans une autre chaudière bouillante, remplie d'un mélange de poix, de graisse et d'huile ; ils y entrèrent en chantant de pieux cantiques, et des anges vinrent les en faire sortir. 

Rictiovarus, fou de rage et sans doute saisi du démon, se jeta au milieu du brasier et s'y tordit dans le désespoir. Telle fut la fin de ce grand persécuteur, qui fit périr tant de chrétiens dans les Gaules.

Quant à Crépin et Crépinien, ils eurent la tête tranchée le lendemain. Le culte des saints Crépin et Crépinien est un de ceux qui sont restés les plus populaires ; des confréries furent établies sous leur vocable, de nombreuses églises bâties en leur honneur ; d'éclatants miracles furent obtenus par leur intercession.

©Evangelizo.org ©Evangelizo.org 2001-2015


SOURCE : http://levangileauquotidien.org/main.php?language=FR&module=saintfeast&localdate=20141025&id=7518&fd=0



Sts. Crispin and Crispinian

Martyrs of the Early Church who were beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; the date of their execution is given as 25 October, 285 or 286. It is stated that they were brothers, but the fact has not been positively proved. The legend relates that they were Romans of distinguished descent who went as missionaries of the Christian Faith to Gaul and chose Soissons as their field of labour. In imitation of St. Paul they worked with their hands, making shoes, and earned enough by their trade to support themselves and also to aid the poor.
During the Diocletian persecution they were brought before Maximianus Herculius whom Diocletian had appointed co-emperor. At first Maximianus sought to turn them from their faith by alternate promises and threats. But they replied: “Thy threats do not terrify us, for Christ is our life, and death is our gain. Thy rank and possessions are nought to us, for we have long before this sacrificed the like for the sake of Christ and rejoice in what we have done. If thou should’st acknowledge and love Christ thou wouldst give not only all the treasures of this life, but even the glory of thy crown itself in order through the exercise of compassion to win eternal life.”
When Maximianus saw that his efforts were of no avail, he gave Crispin and Crispinian into the hands of the governor Rictiovarus (Rictius Varus), a most cruel persecutor of the Christians. Under the order of Rictiovarus they were stretched on the rack, thongs were cut from their flesh, and awls were driven under their finger-nails. A millstone was then fastened about the neck of each, and they were thrown into the Aisne, but they were able to swim to the opposite bank of the river. In the same manner they suffered no harm from a great fire in which Rictiovarus, in despair, committed suicide himself. Afterwards the two saints were beheaded at the command of Maximianus.
In the sixth century a stately basilica was erected at Soissons over the graves of these saints, and St. Eligius, a famous goldsmith, made a costly shrine for the head of St. Crispinian. Some of the relics of Crispin and Crispinian were carried to Rome and placed in the church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna. Other relics of the saints were given by Charlemagne to the cathedral, dedicated to Crispin and Crispinian, which he founded at Osnabrück. Crispin and Crispinian are the patron saints of shoemakers, saddlers, and tanners.



Aert van den Bossche (fl. 1490-1505). Le martyr de Saint Crépin et Saint Crépinien,
 1494, huile sur panneau, 98 X 190
Sts. Crispin and Crispinian

Martyrs of the Early Church who were beheaded during the reign of Diocletian; the date of their execution is given as 25 October, 285 or 286. It is stated that they were brothers, but the fact has not been positively proved. The legend relates that they were Romans of distinguished descent who went as missionaries of the Christian Faith to Gaul and chose Soissons as their field of labour. In imitation of St. Paul they worked with their hands, making shoes, and earned enough by their trade to support themselves and also to aid the poor. During the Diocletian persecution they were brought before Maximianus Herculius whom Diocletian had appointed co-emperor. At first Maximianus sought to turn them from their faith by alternate promises and threats. But they replied: "Thy threats do not terrify us, for Christ is our life, and death is our gain. Thy rank and possessions are nought to us, for we have long before this sacrificed the like for the sake of Christ and rejoice in what we have done. If thou shouldst acknowledge and love Christ thou wouldst give not only all the treasures of this life, but even the glory of thy crown itself in order through the exercise of compassion to win eternal life." When Maximianus saw that his efforts were of no avail, he gave Crispin and Crispinian into the hands of the governor Rictiovarus (Rictius Varus), a most cruel persecutor of the Christians. Under the order of Rictiovarus they were stretched on the rack, thongs were cut from their flesh, and awls were driven under their finger-nails. A millstone was then fastened about the neck of each, and they were thrown into the Aisne, but they were able to swim to the opposite bank of the river. In the same manner they suffered no harm from a great fire in which Rictiovarus, in despair, sought death himself. Afterwards the two saints were beheaded at the command of Maximianus.

This is the story of the legend which the Bollandists have incorporated in their great collection; the same account is found in various breviaries. The narrative says that a large church was built over the graves of the two saints, consequently the legend could not have arisen until a later age; it contains, moreover, many details that have little probability or historical worth and seems to have been compiled from various fabulous sources. In the sixth century a stately basilica was erected at Soissons over the graves of these saints, and St. Eligius, a famous goldsmith, made a costly shrine for the head of St. Crispinian. Some of the relics of Crispin and Crispinian were carried to Rome and placed in the church of San Lorenzo in Panisperna. Other relics of the saints were given by Charlemagne to the cathedral, dedicated to Crispin and Crispinian, which he founded at Osnabrück. Crispin and Crispinian are the patron saints of shoemakers, saddlers, and tanners. Their feast falls on 25 October.

Sources

Acta SS., Oct., XI, 495-540; BARING-GOULD, Lives of the Saints, XII, 628; BUTLER, Lives of the Saints. 25 October; Bio-Bibl. s.v.


Meier, Gabriel. "Sts. Crispin and Crispinian." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908.25 Oct. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04491a.htm>.

SOURCE : http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04491a.htm




Kerstgen van Ringenberch (1510 env.), Crépin et Crépinien,


Crispin and Crispinian MM (RM)


It is difficult to separate truth from legend in the story of Saint Crispin and his brother Saint Crispinian, who were martyred about the year 287. They may actually have been Christians who fled the persecutions in Rome and put their exile to good effect by evangelizing. The legend which follows is very late and without historical value. There is a tradition that they were born of a noble Roman family in the 3rd century and went to preach in Gaul (Soissons) with Saint Quintinius and a number of other missionaries. According to this tradition they adopted the trade of shoemakers because they had left all their possessions behind them in Rome, or mainly as a disguise since Christians were still being persecuted in Gaul. It seems more probable that they were natives of Noviodunum (Soissons) and followed their trade as a matter of course.


Like Saint Paul, they preached by day and worked with their hands by night. Many conversions were attributed to them, for they preached not only by word of mouth but also by setting an example of charity and generosity, providing the poor with shoes for nothing and indeed taking no payment unless it was offered.

Their martyrdom took place at a time when the Emperor Maximian was travelling through Gaul. Crispin and Crispinian were accused and the Emperor ordered them to be taken before Rictiovarus who (if he really existed) was a fanatical persecutor of Christians.

The two brothers were subjected to a number of brutal tortures; they were immersed in water, molten lead, and boiling water. However they survived them all, and it is said that Rictiovarus became so furious at this that he jumped into the fire that had been prepared for them and killed himself (or other traditions say he drowned himself). Finally, on the orders of Maximian, the brothers were beheaded.
The truth may well be that they were Roman martyrs whose relics were brought to Soissons and enshrined there. These martyrs are particularly venerated in Soissons, France, where there was a church in their honor in the 6th century.

Tradition has it that a church was built over their tomb and their shrine was embellished by Saint Eligius the Smith, who was also one of the most popular saints of the Middle Ages. See the references to Crispin and Crispinian in Shakespeare's Henry V, Act 4, Scene 3.

Their cult spread through many countries, and there is a legend that they settled for a while at Faversham, Kent, on the south coast of England, when they fled from persecution. Formerly, there was an altar in Faversham bearing their names in the parish church.

To this day they are recognized as the patron of shoe-makers, cobblers, and leather-workers (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia). Their emblem in art is a shoe or a last (Roeder). 





Arrestation des saints Crépin et Crépinien, saints-patrons des tanneurs, vers 1540-1560,
 groupe sculpté polychrome de l'église Saint Pantaléon de Troyes 

October 25

SS. Crispin and Crispinian, Martyrs

See Tillemont, t. 4, p. 461. Bosquet, Hist. Eccl. de France, l. 5, c. 156. Le Moine, Hist. Antiq. Soissons, Paris, 1771, t. 1, p. 154.—The new Paris Breviary, and Baillet from ancient Martyrologies; for the acts of these martyrs are of small authority.

A.D. 287.

THE NAMES of these two glorious martyrs are not less famous in France than those of the two former at Rome. They came from Rome to preach the faith in Gaul towards the middle of the third century, together with St. Quintin and others. Fixing their residence at Soissons, in imitation of St. Paul they instructed many in the faith of Christ, which they preached publicly in the day, at seasonable times; and, in imitation of St. Paul, worked with their hands in the night, making shoes, though they are said to have been nobly born, and brothers. The infidels listened to their instructions, and were astonished at the example of their lives, especially of their charity, disinterestedness, heavenly piety, and contempt of glory and all earthly things: and the effect was the conversion of many to the Christian faith. The brothers had continued this employment several years, when the Emperor Maximian Herculeus coming into the Belgic Gaul, a complaint was lodged against them. The emperor, perhaps as much to gratify their accusers as to indulge his own superstition and give way to his savage cruelty, gave order that they should be convened before Rictius Varus, the most implacable enemy of the Christian name, whom he had first made governor of that part of Gaul, and had then advanced to the dignity of prefect of the prætorium. The martyrs were victorious over this most inhuman judge, by the patience and constancy with which they bore the most cruel torments, and finished their course by the sword about the year 287. 1 They are mentioned in the Martyrologies of St. Jerom, Bede, Florus, Ado, Usuard, &c. A great church was built at Soissons in their honour in the sixth century, and St. Eligius richly ornamented their sacred shrine.

From the example of the saints it appears how foolish the pretences of many Christians are, who imagine the care of a family, the business of a farm or a shop, the attention which they are obliged to give to their worldly profession are impediments which excuse them from aiming at perfection. Such, indeed, they make them; but this is altogether owing to their own sloth and malice. How many saints have made these very employments the means of their perfection! St. Paul made tents; Saints Crispin and Crispinian were shoemakers; the Blessed Virgin was taken up in the care of her poor cottage; Christ himself worked with his reputed father; and those saints who renounced all commerce with the world to devote themselves totally to the contemplation of heavenly things, made mats, tilled the earth, or copied and bound good books. The secret of the art of their sanctification was, that fulfilling the maxims of Christ, they studied to subdue their passions and die to themselves; they, with much earnestness and application, obtained of God, and improved daily in their souls, a spirit of devotion and prayer; their temporal business they regarded as a duty which they owed to God, and sanctified it by a pure and perfect intention, as Christ on earth directed everything he did to the glory of his Father. In these very employments, they were careful to improve themselves in humility, meekness, resignation, divine charity, and all other virtues, by the occasions which call them forth at every moment, and in every action. Opportunities of every virtue, and every kind of good work never fail in all circumstances; and the chief means of our sanctification may be practised in every state of life, which are self-denial and assiduous prayer, frequent aspirations, and pious meditation or reflections on spiritual truths, which disengage the affections from earthly things, and deeply imprint in the heart those of piety and religion.

Note 1. SS. Crispin and Crispinian are the patrons and models of the pious confraternity of brother shoemakers, an establishment begun by Henry Michael Buch, commonly called Good Henry. His parents were poor day-labourers at Erlon, in the duchy of Luxemburg. Henry was distinguished from his infancy for his parts and extraordinary piety and prudence. He was put apprentice very young to a shoemaker. With the duties of his calling he joined constant devotion and the exercise of all virtues. Sundays and holidays he spent chiefly in the churches, was a great lover of holy prayer, and studied earnestly to know and contemn himself, to mortify his senses and to deny his own will. He took SS. Crispin and Crispinian for his models, and, at his work, had them before his eyes, considering often how they worked with a view purely to please God, and to have an opportunity to convert infidels, and to relieve the poor. It was to him a subject of grief to see many in the same or the like trades ill instructed, slothful in the practice of virtue, and engaged in dangerous or criminal habits; and, by his zealous and prudent exhortations and endeavours, he induced many such to assist diligently at catechism and pious instructions, to shun ale-houses and dangerous company, to frequent the sacraments, to pray devoutly; especially to make every evening acts of faith, hope, divine love, and contrition, and to love only virtuous company, and whatever promoted piety and religion. In this manner, he laid himself out with great zeal and success, when, the term of his apprenticeship being expired, he worked as journeyman; and God so abundantly diffused in his heart his holy spirit and charity, and gave such authority and weight to his words, by the character of his sanctity, that he seemed to have established him the father of his family, to hear the complaints, reconcile the differences, inquire into the distresses, comfort the sorrows, and even relieve the wants of many. The servant of God went always very meanly clad, yet often gave to the poor some of the clothes off his back; he retrenched everything that was superfluous, and often contented himself with bread and water that he might feed the hungry, and clothe the naked. Thus he had lived at his work several years at Luxemburg and Messen, when providence conducted him to Paris, where he continued the same zealous life among the young men of his low rank and profession.

  He was forty-five years old when the Baron of Renty, whose piety has rendered his name famous, having heard him spoken of, was extremely desirous to see him. The simplicity and most edifying and enlightened discourse of the poor shoemaker surprised and charmed the good baron, who discovered in him an extraordinary prudence and penetration in spiritual things, and an invincible courage to undertake and execute great projects for the honour of God. He was informed that Henry reformed many dissolute apprentices and children, and, with great address and piety, reconciled to them their angry masters or parents; that he prescribed to many that were so disposed, excellent rules of a pious life: and that he had an excellent talent at instructing and exhorting poor strangers who had no friends, and seemed destitute of comfort, in the hospital of St. Gervaise, which he visited every day. But what gave him the highest idea of Henry’s sanctity, was the eminent spirit of prayer and humility, and the supernatural graces with which he discovered him to be endowed. Thinking him, therefore, a proper instrument for advancing the divine honour, he proposed to him a project of establishing a confraternity to facilitate the heroic exercise of all virtues among persons of his low profession. For this end, he purchased for him the freedom and privilege of a burgess; and made him commence master in his trade that he might take apprentices and journeymen who were willing to follow the rules that were prescribed them, and were drawn up by the curate of St. Paul’s, regarding frequent prayer, the use of the sacraments, the constant practice of the divine presence, mutual succours in time of sickness, and affording relief and comfort to the sick and distressed. Seven apprentices and journeymen joined him, and the foundation of his confraternity was laid in 1645, Henry being appointed the first superior. It appeared visibly, by the innocence and sanctity of this company of pious artisans, how much God had chosen to be honoured by it: the spirit of the primitive Christians seemed revived amongst them.

  Two years after this, certain pious tailors who were charmed with the heavenly life of these shoemakers, whom they heard often singing devoutly the divine praises at their work, and saw employing, in penance and good works, that time which many throw away in idleness and sin, begged of good Henry a copy of these rules, and, with the assistance of the same curate, formed a like confraternity of their profession, in 1647. Both these confraternities are propagated in several parts of France and Italy, and are settled in Rome. The principal rules are, that all the members rise at five o’clock every morning, meet together to pray before they go to work; that, as often as the clock strikes, the superior recites aloud some suitable prayer, at some hours a De Profundis, at others some devotion to honour the passion of our Redeemer, or for the conversion of sinners, &c.: that all hear mass every day at an appointed hour; at their work to say certain prayers, as the beads; and sometimes sing a devout hymn, at other times work mostly in silence; make a meditation before dinner; hear pious reading at table; make every year a retreat for a few days; on Sundays and holydays assist at sermons, and at the whole divine office; visit hospitals and prisons, or poor sick persons in their private houses; make an examination of their consciences, say night prayers together, and retire to their rooms at nine o’clock. It would require a volume to give a true idea of the great virtues and edifying deportment of the pious institutor of this religious establishment. After three years’ sickness he died at Paris, of an ulcer in his lungs, on the 9th of June, in 1666, and was buried in the churchyard at St. Gervaise’s. (See Le Vachet, L’Artisan Chrétien, ou la Vie du Bon Henri; and Helyot, Hist. des Ordr. Rel. t. 8, p. 175.) An enterprise which the pious Baron of Renty had extremely at heart, was to engage persons in the world, of all professions, especially artisans and the poor, to instruct themselves in, and faithfully to practise, all the means of Christian perfection, of which his own life was a model.

  Gaston John Baptist, baron of Renty, son of Charles, baron of Renty, of an ancient noble family of Artois, was born at the castle of Beni, in the diocess of Bayeux in Normandy, in 1611. He was placed very young in the college of Navarre at Paris, and afterwards in the college of the Jesuits at Caën with a clergyman for his preceptor, and a secular governor: at seventeen, he was sent to the academy at Paris, and gained great reputation by his progress in learning, and his address in all his exercises, especially riding and fencing. Piety from the cradle was his favourite inclination, which was much strengthened by his reading the Imitation of Christ. His desire of becoming a Carthusian was overruled by his parents; and, in the twenty-second year of his age, he married Elizabeth of Balzac, of the family of Entragues, daughter to the Count of Graville, by whom he left two sons and two daughters. His great abilities, modesty, and prudence rendered him conspicuous in the world, especially in the states at Rouen, wherein he assisted as deputy of the nobility of the Bailiwick of Vire, and in the army, in which he served in Lorrain, being captain of a select company of six-score men, of whom sixty were gentlemen of good families. His valour, watchful and tender care of all under his charge, regular and fervent devotion, attention to every duty, excessive charity, humility, penance, and the exercise of all virtues cannot be recounted in this place. He was much esteemed by King Lewis XIII.; but it was his greatest happiness, that in the midst of the world his heart appeared as perfectly disengaged from it, and raised above it as the Pauls, Antonies, and Arseniuses were in their deserts. In the twenty-seventh year of his age, the sermons of a certain Oratorian who preached a mission, about seven leagues from Paris, made so strong an impression upon his soul, that after making a general confession to that pious priest, by his advice, he entered upon a new course of life, resolving to break all his connexions with the court, resign all public business, and lay aside superfluous visits that he might give his whole heart to God in prayer, and to works of duty and charity. He chose for his director F. Condren, general of the Oratorians, a most holy and experienced master in an interior life, as his pious writings and the history of his life show. As the whole secret of a Christian consists in destroying what is vicious in our affections that grace may reign in us, and in making the old man die that Christ alone may live in our hearts, the baron, by the counsels of his director, redoubled his application to subdue his passions, and regulate all the interior and exterior motions of his heart and senses. By vigorously thwarting the inclinations of nature and the senses, he brought them into subjection; and wherever he discovered any symptom of the least irregularity, he strongly counteracted the inclination, by doing the contrary. He made every day two examinations of conscience, at noon and at night; went to confession twice, and to communion three or four times a week: rose at midnight to say matins with an hour’s meditation; had regular hours in the day for meditation, mass, and other devotions, and all family duties. His fasts and abstinence were most rigorous and continual; his clothes plain; the interior peace and serenity of his mind demonstrated the submission of his passions to reason and the divine will, and that he very little desired or feared anything temporal, considering God alone, whether in prosperity or adversity. His retrenchment of every superfluity showed his love of poverty. He looked upon himself as the most unworthy and the basest of all creatures; in his letters took the title of sinner, or the most grievous sinner, and lived in a total annihilation of himself before God and all creatures; when he spoke of God, he humbled himself to the very centre of the earth, and he would feelingly say, that so base a creature ought with trembling to adore God in silence, without presuming to pronounce his name. In a sincere love for a hidden and unknown life he shunned and dreaded esteem and honour, insomuch that it would have been a pleasure to him to be banished from all hearts, and forgotten by all men. He earnestly conjured his devout friends to sigh to God for him, that the spirit of his divine Son might be his life, or that he might live in him and for him alone. It was his custom to consecrate frequently to God, in the most solemn manner, his whole being, his body, soul, wife, children, estate, and whatever could concern him, earnestly praying that with the utmost purity, simplicity, and innocency he might do all things purely for God, without the least secret spark of self-love, and without feeling joy or sorrow, or any other sentiment which he did not totally refer to Him. His devotion to the blessed sacrament was such, that he usually spent several hours in the day on his knees before it; and when others wondered he could abide so long together on his knees, he said it was this that gave him vigour and strength, and revived his soul. He often served at mass himself: he rebuilt the church at Beni; and out of devotion to the holy sacrament, he furnished a great number of poor parish-churches with neat silver chalices and ciboriums. It would be too long here to mention his care of his family, and of all his tenants, but especially of his children; frequent attendance upon the sick in hospitals, and in their cottages, and his incredible and perpetual charities not only among his own vassals and in neighbouring places, but also among the distant hospitals, the slaves at Marseilles, the Christian slaves in Barbary, the missions in the Indies, several English and Irish Catholic exiles, &c. After the death of P. Condren, he chose for his director a devout father of the Society of Jesus, and, for some time before his death, communicated usually every day. Prayer being the great channel through which the divine gifts are chiefly communicated to our souls, in imitation of all the saints he made this his ordinary employment, and his whole life might be called a continued prayer. His eminent spirit of prayer was founded in the most profound humility, and constant mortification. The soul must die before she can live by the true life; she must be crucified to herself and the world before she is capable of uniting herself intimately to God, in which consists her perfection. This faithful servant of God was dead to the love of riches and the goods of the world; to its amusements, pleasures, and honours; to the esteem and applause of men, and also to their contempt; to the inordinate affections or inclinations of self-love, so that his heart seemed to be withheld by no ties, but totally possessed by God and his pure love. In these dispositions he was prepared for the company of the heavenly spirits. The latter years of his life he spent partly at Paris, and partly at his country seat or castle at his manor of Citri, in the diocess of Soissons. It was at Paris that he fell ill of his last sickness, in which he suffered great pains without giving the least sign of complaint. Having most devoutly received all the sacraments he calmly expired on the 24th of April, in the year 1649, of his age the thirty-seventh. He was buried at Citri; his body was taken up on the 15th of September, in 1658, by an order of the bishop, to be removed to a more honourable place; and was found as fresh and entire as if he had been but just dead. See his life by F. St. Jure, a Jesuit of singular piety and learning. 
[back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume X: October. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.




St Crispin and St Crispianus

Home / History / People / St Crispin and St Crispianus


That two Roman saints and shoemakers, Crispin and Crispinian (or Crispianus), are said to have lived in Faversham late in the 3rd century is fairly well known, at least among people interested in the town’s history. 

The association is recalled by a plaque on the Swan , in Market Street, which marks the spot where they are said to have lived. 

However, the town cannot be said to be exactly incandescent with interest in this remarkable tradition, which anywhere else might be the source of great pride and the inspiration for annual festivities on 25 October, St Crispin’s Day. 

There were three legends, not just one.
The first, first recorded, and elaborated, by Thomas Deloney in 1598, is the most coherent, colourful and interesting from a local point of view because it is set in Faversham, Canterbury and the unspecified location of a battle in France.
In the second, Faversham plays no part. The main setting is Soissons (Roman Noviodunum), a cathedral cityabout 20 miles west of Rheims in France.
The third is a variation of the second and includes a Faversham component. Originally it was probably a rather clumsy attempt to reconcile the second version with the first. It is this version which has come to be accepted in the town.
The first has been forgotten for more than 150 years, but it is, for Faversham, by far the most important. When local historian Arthur Percival read it, he realised that it was time to get into print again. This he has done with The Faversham Legends of Crispin & Crispianus, Princes and Saints, published by the Faversham Society.

Dr Percival said: “We could simply have published a transcript of the story as told in 1598 by Deloney, but the English, though quite racy, is not the English we use today, and might be a barrier to understanding and enjoyment. So what I have done is re-write it in contemporary English, retaining - at the risk of stylistic inconsistency - just a few of the more memorable passages and phrases from the original. 

“The story is really quite fascinating and, if it embodies a folk tradition, as it probably does, may even shed a bit of light on the history of Roman Britain. It seems to be set in the time of Carausius, Britain’s ‘breakaway’ Roman emperor, who reigned from 286/7 to 293. In this version Crispin and Crispianus are the two young sons of a native British prince who has been executed by the emperor for stepping out of line. They are Christians, and, like the emperor himself, live in Canterbury. 

“Their widowed mother realises that as they near manhood, their lives will be at risk not so much because of their faith as because they will be seen as a likely focus for discontent. She decides that for their own safety they need to disguise themselves and leave Canterbury. They set out on the Roman road to London (the present A2) and pause outside a shoemaker’s workshop in Faversham. 

“The staff sound so cheerful and the atmosphere seems so congenial that they decide to ask for seven-year apprenticeships. Offered these, they settle down well and soon become champion shoe-makers. To tell any more of the story now would spoil it, but it is great fun, exciting, and has the happiest of endings. 

“Though I tell the story exactly as Deloney told it, I have embroidered it here and there where knowledge of history has improved since he recorded it. For example he knew that the Roman Empire was in poor shape at the time, with barbarian invaders penetrating Italy itself as far as Ravenna. What he did not know was that Britain was then actually the safest part of the Empire and that as a result some Roman land-owners had fled here from France. Equally he did not know that on the outskirts of Faversham was probably a major military depot.” 

And how did Deloney hear of the legend? He seems to have had no roots in Faversham. Not much is known about him except that he was a silk-weaver, who was born in about 1543 and died in 1600. He did have good colloquial French, and may have been a member of one of the thousands of Huguenot refugee families which settled in England in the later 16th century. 

His surname is almost certainly an Anglicisation of the French Delaune. The Delaunes soon became prominent in London and one of them, Gideon Delaune (1565-1659) formulated a patent medicine which made him a fortune. Some of this he used to buy himself a big country house - Sharsted Court at Doddington, near Faversham.
Dr Percival speculates that if Thomas Deloney and Gideon Delaune were related, Thomas may have picked up the Faversham legend of Crispin and Crispianus while staying at Sharsted. 

The other two versions of the legend are also printed in this new book, the second (Soissons) version in a few paragraphs, and the third, hybrid, version, in the late Leslie Smith’s masterly reconstruction from his delightful Stories of Faversham, privately published in 1974. 

The first (Deloney) version provided inspiration for two Elizabethan plays, as Arthur notes. Dekker’s The Shoemaker’s Holiday, first produced in 1599 and performed before Queen Elizabeth I a year later, is still in the repertory. William Rowley’s A Shoemaker A Gentleman, first performed in 1600, and considered the better play in its day, follows Deloney’s story more closely than the Dekker drama. It is set wholly in Faversham, Canterbury and France. Probably it was performed in Faversham, since the town was on all the big acting companies’ circuit in Elizabethan and Jacobean times. However, it has not been performed in the town for at least 250 years and may be ripe for revival. 

The Faversham Legends of Crispin & Crispianus, Princes and Saints,  No 73 in the Faversham Society’s



 series of Faversham Papers, is on sale at the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre in Preston Street.






October 25

Saints Crispin and Crispinian

Martyrs



(†285 or 286)

These two glorious martyrs, who were brothers, were born of a distinguished Roman family; they came from Rome to preach the Faith in Gaul toward the middle of the third century, and took up residence in Soissons. They instructed many in the Faith of Christ, which they preached publicly during the day. At night they worked at making shoes, following the example of Saint Paul who recommends that the preachers of Christ imitate him — that is, sustain themselves when necessary by the work of their own hands. The infidels who came to their workshop were charmed by their polite and affable manners, and enjoyed coming to ask their services and converse with them. The profound conviction which imbued all they said about Christianity made a strong impression on those who heard them. They remained about forty years in this occupation at Soissons without being troubled, even though they determined many to renounce the cult of false gods.

But the time was coming when they were destined to give the most perfect testimony possible to their faith, by suffering many and varied tortures and shedding their blood. In 285 the emperor Diocletian sent his vicar Maximian Herculeus into Gaul, where this tyrant revealed his intentions by ordering the massacre of the entire Theban legion. At Soissons, he soon discovered that the progress of the religion of the Nazarene was largely the effect of the presence there of the two brothers. When summoned to appear before him, they were not moved by either threats or promises; and Maximian, seeing he could do nothing with them, sent them to his minister Rictiovarus, prefect of Gaul, with orders to spare them no sort of torture. At Soissons the memory of their torment is still much alive; an abbey was built at the site of the prison where they were enclosed.

They were suspended by pulleys and struck with clubs; they were tormented in their hands and mouth with wires, and strips of flesh were cut off their backs. They ceased not to pray; when certain instruments destined for them turned against their tormenters, they were regarded as magicians. They were attached to millstones and thrown in the river, but the stones detached themselves, and they swam to the far shore. A hotbed of fire, molten lead and tar did not consume them, and they sang hymns to the Lord. A drop of this mixture seemed to leap from the fire into the eye of Rictiovarus. Out of his mind with fury, he threw himself onto the brazier and there met his end. The martyrs were patient and constant under these fearful torments and finished their course by the sword in the year 286. A Christian brother and sister buried their bodies on their own terrain, where later a public oratory was constructed. On its site, the parish priest of Mattaincourt, Saint Peter Fourier, long afterwards established the Congregation of teaching Sisters which he founded.

Reflection: Of many it can be said that they labor in vain, since God is not the end and purpose that inspires their labor. What will remain of it in the end? But the wonderful insuccess of the martyrs serves directly to make His glory shine with eternal brilliance.

Les Petits Bollandistes: Vies des Saints, by Msgr. Paul Guérin (Bloud et Barral: Paris, 1882), Vol. 12