Sunday, 25 October 2020

ss. crispin and crispinian

Twin brothers from a wealthy third century patrician family, they fled to the provinces to escape persecution for their Christian faith, eventually settling in Soissons (capital of the Belgic tribe of the Suessiones)—evangelising to the native population by day and funding their mission and aiding the poor by making shoes at night.

Their enterprise drew the attention of Gaulish governor (a Vicarius—a vicar, that is a deputy of Rome) Rixius Varus, who is said to have martyred with zeal hundreds of Christians under Emperor Diocletian before eventually repenting, converting and becoming a victim of the machine himself, who devised cruel, elaborate tortures for the brothers using their own cobbler’s implement before tying millstones around their necks and tossing them into the River Aisne. The pair survived to Varus’ acute frustration, at this juncture the Emperor intervening and putting them to death by beheading on this day in the year 286. Crispin and Crispinian’s patronage includes shoemakers, saddlers, tanners and lace workers. A number of battles fall coincidentally on their feast day, symbolism and significance applied retroactively, though sometimes noted by contemporaries—with the most famous being the 1415 Battle of Agincourt (cemented in popular imagination by Shakespeare’s Henry V “Band of Brothers” speech)—others being the Siege of Lisbon (1147), the Battle of Balaclava (1854), the Second Battle of el Alamein and the Battle of Henderson Field at Guadalcanal (1942).