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Quirinus, Saints

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Quirinus, SAINTS.—Several martyrs of this name are mentioned in the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” and in the historical Martyrologies of the early Middle Ages, and the feasts of these saints are still to be found in the catalogue of saints of the Roman Church.

(I).—According to the legendary Acts of the martyrs St. Maras and St. Martha, a Roman martyr Quirinus (Cyrinus) was buried in the Catacomb of Pontian. However, the Itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs do not mention him. His feast is celebrated on March 25. Perhaps this Quirinus is meant by the expression “Romae sancti Cyri” found in the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” of March 24 (cf. “Acta SS.”, III, March, 543 sqq. Dufourcq, “Les Gesta martyrum romains”, I, 240). In the eighth century the relics of the martyr were translated to the Benedictine abbey of Tegernsee in Bavaria.

(2).—Another Roman martyr named Quirinus was buried in the Catacomb of Praetextatus on the Via Appia. Both the name and the place of burial are mentioned in the “Martyrologium Hieronymianum” (ed. De Rossi-Duchesne, 52), as also in the Itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs (De Rossi, “Roma sotterranea”, I, 180-1). His name undoubtedly appeared in the catalogue of Roman martyrs of the fourth century under date of April 30, which is the day that the Martyrology of Jerome assigns him. He is introduced into the legendary Acts of Sts. Alexander and Balbina, where it is said he was a tribune (Dufourcq, loc. cit., 175). Ado took the name from these Acts and put it in his Martyrology under date of March 30, on which day it is now also found in the Roman Martyrology (Quentin, “Les martyrologes historiques”, 490). In 1050 the relics of Quirinus were given by Leo IX to his sister Gepa, Abbess of Neuss. In this way the relics came to the beautiful Romanesque Church of St. Quirinus at Neuss which still exists.

(3).—The relics of a third St. Quirinus, now in Rome, were brought thither from Pannonia. This St. Quirinus was Bishop of Siscia, now Sissek in Croatia, and suffered martyrdom in 309. He was thrown into the water with a millstone about his neck and drowned. The genuine Acts of the martyrdom of the saint are still in existence (Ruinart, “Acta mart.”, Ratisbon, 522), also a hymn in his honor by Prudentius (loc. cit., 524). Upon the incursion of the barbarians into Pannonia at the beginning of the fifth century the inhabitants fled to Italy and took the bones of St. Quirinus with them. The remains were taken to Rome and interred in a vaulted burial chamber near the Church of St. Sebastian on the Via Appia (De Waal, “Die Apostelgruft ad Catacumbas an der via Appia”, Rome, 1894). His feast is observed on June 4.

(4).—The name of a martyr Quirinus, who is venerated in Tivoli, is found in the present Roman Martyrology under the same date of June 4. There is no historical account of him; he is, perhaps, identical with one of the martyrs of this name who are mentioned in the Martyrology of Jerome among groups of martyrs under the dates of March 12, 3 and June 4. Under June 4 a Quirinus is mentioned with a statement of the place, “Nividuno civitate” (Mart. Hieron., 31, 73, 75).

(5).—At Malmedy, in Rhenish Prussia, is venerated a St. Quirinus. It is related that at the beginning of the ninth century his relics were translated to the abbey church there. According to the legend he was put to death, together with a companion Nicasius, in the pages Vulcassinus (Vexin). No trustworthy historical reports of him exist. His feast is observed on October 11.

J. P. KIRSCH


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