Died: c. 304 A.D. in Enns (river)
Venerated: Roman Catholic Church; Eastern Orthodox Church
Feast Day: May 4
Patronages: Chimneysweeps; Firefighters; Soap Boilers
Places: Linz, Austria; Krakow, Poland; Upper Austria
Florian was an officer of the Roman army, serving Austria in the third century. Accordingly, he held a high position in the administration of the town of Noricum.
During the persecution of Diocletian in 304, when the Roman soldiers were rounding up Christians at Lorch, Florian surrendered to the soldiers of the governor Aquilinus and confessed his Christianity. As a result, he was scourged, skinned alive, and then tossed into the Enns River with a stone tied around his neck. Later his body was retrieved and buried at an Augustinian monastery near Lorch.
In 1138, after Florian's body was taken to Rome, Pope Lucius III gave part of Florian's relics to King Casimir of Poland and to the Bishop of Krakow. Florian today is considered to be the patron of Poland and Upper Austria.
Reflection: Sometimes the good example as well as sufferings of people of faith can move others to accept the Cross of Christ in their lives. When we follow Jesus in both His suffering and His joy, we are in reality living and preaching the Kingdom. It is the kind of evangelization all Christians are challenged to follow in their lives.
Prayer: Merciful God, our Father, be with Your people as they follow Mary's Son on the royal road of the Cross. Through the example and prayers of Saint Florian, give us the courage and grace to fully accept the challenges of Christian life. This we ask through Christ our Lord. Amen.