St. Vincent, one of the most celebrated martyrs of Spain, was born in Saragossa, of one of the most respectable families of that city. While very young, he was placed under the tutelage of Valerius, Bishop of that church, who with great pains instructed him in the doctrines of religion, giving him at the same time a very extensive acquaintance with human science. Vincent, having made wonderful progress in learning, was ordained deacon by this prelate, who being himself prevented from preaching by an impediment in his speech, entrusted this office to Vincent. The young Levite discharged this important duty with such success that a great number of sinners, and even of pagans, was converted at his discourses.
Vincent of Saragossa by Raul Xavier. Wiki commons.
At that time, namely, in the year 303, Spain was under the rule of Maximian; and Dacian was governor of the province of Tarragona, in which Saragossa was situated. This Dacian was a most cruel man, and an unrelenting persecutor of the Christians. Hearing of the manner in which Vincent advanced the Christian faith, he had him arrested, together with his Bishop, Valerius, and brought to Valencia, where he resided. He caused them to suffer much in prison, thinking that by maltreatment he would render them easier to be tampered with, but he soon perceived that this means did not correspond to the end he had in view. When they had been brought into his presence, he first endeavored by kindness to induce them to apostatize. To Valerius he represented that his declining age and infirmity required that repose which he might obtain by obeying the imperial edicts, but if he resisted he would feel the effects of their just anger. Then turning to Vincent he said: “You are young, and should not despise the reward of fortune which you may earn by abandoning your religion. Obey, young man, the commands of the emperors, and do not, by refusal, expose yourself to an ignominious death”.