ABOUT ST. FLORIAN
St. Florian (Florianus; civil name: Florian von Lorch) was born about 250 A.D. in what is now Austria. He was martyred in 304 A.D. Florian was an officer in the Roman army and held a high post in Austria that had secretly converted to Christianity. When the Emperor ordered his soldiers to persecute Christians, Florian refused and revealed his faith and surrendered himself.
After professing his faith, he was whipped, beaten and flailed alive. Florian was to be burned alive, but challenged the soldiers: “If you do, I will climb to heaven on the flames.” Florian was then thrown into the river Ems, with a stone around his neck and drowned.
Many miracles are attributed to him, including the extinguishing of a huge fire with a pitcher of water. He is said to have stopped a town from burning by throwing a single bucket of water on the blaze, and thus his association with firefighters.
Along with being the patron saint of Firefighters, St. Florian also holds the patronage of Austria, Poland, brewers, coopers, chimney-sweeps, soap-boilers and of those in danger from water and flood, and of drowning. He is invoked against bad harvests, battles, fire, flood, and storm.
The city of Hamtramck, Michigan is graced with St. Florian Curch and Parish. Because of St. Florian’s association with being the patron saint of Firefighters – a march and mass honoring firefighters is held the first Saturday of May (coinciding with the annual Strawberry Festival). Firefighters from throughout the area join to celebrate in their brotherhood.