Golden Legend – Saints Crispin and Crispinian

[Pictorial Lives of the Saints: Saint Crispin and Saint Crispinian, Martyrs]Article

Here followeth of Saint Crispin and Saint Crispinian.

In the time when the furious persecution of christian men was made under Diocletian and Maximian, together running, Crispin and Crispinian, born at Rome of noble lineage, came with the blessed Saints Quintin, Fustian, and Victorin unto Paris, in France, and they there chose divers places for to preach the faith of Christ. Crispin and Crispinian came to the city of Soissons and chose that city for the place of their pilgrimage, where they followed the steps of Saint Paul the apostle, that is to say to labour with their hands for to provide to them necessarily to live, and exercised the craft of making of shoes. In which craft they passed others and took by constraint no reward of no body, wherefore the gentiles and paynims, overcome by the love of them, not only for need of the craft, but also for the love of God, came oft to them, and left the error of the idols, and believed in very God. At the last these holy men being sought of Rictius Varius were founden amending and clouting poor men’s shoes, which were taken and bounden with chains and brought unto him. And after many interrogations and questions, they, refusing to sacrifice to the idols, were stretched and bounden unto a tree, and were commanded to be beaten with staves, and after, awls such as shoes be sewed with, were threaden and put under the ongles or nails of their fingers, and lainers or latchets of their skin were cut out of their back. Who among these sharp and strong pains praying, the awls sprang from their ongles and nails, and smote the ministers that pained them and wounded them cruelly. Then Rictius Varius commanded to hang on their necks millstones, and in the winter time, under the ice in the river of Anxion to be drowned, but the water might not drown them ne the stones make them to sink, ne the cold constrain ne hurt them, but as they had bained and washen them in summer time, they throwing away the burthen of stones, arrived and came to that other brink of the river. Which thing Rictius Varius beholding and seeing this miracle, by the instigation of the devil was all araged, and commanded to melt lead in the fire, and the holy martyrs to be cast into it, therein to be drowned and consumed. But these holy men praying and saying: Blessed art thou, Lord God of our fathers, et cetera, a drop of the fervent oil sprang into the eye of Rictius Varius and blinded it cruelly, paining him by grievous torment. But he, yet for all that being wood for anger, commanded to boil pitch, oil, and grease, and to throw the holy men therein for to be drowned and consumed. But the saints, immovable of their hope, and busy in their prayers said: O Lord thou art strong and mighty enough to deliver us from these torments to us showed and done, to the confusion of the devil and of all his servants. And as soon as their prayer was finished an angel led them out without hurt or scathe, which thing when Rictius saw, he sprang and fell down himself in the fire, and there perished by the righteous judgment of God, which had put to death by fire many martyrs of Christ, and descended down to everlasting fire. These holy men seeing this, the next night following they prayed our Lord that he would command them, so delivered by the torments, to come unto him. To whom it was showed that same night that, the next day following they should receive the meed of their reward. and so it was done. For Maximian hearing the death of Rictius, commanded that their heads should be smitten off, and thus they suffered and received the crown of martyrdom the tenth kalends of November. And their bodies were left to be devoured of beasts and fowls, but God suffered them to be kept undefouled, and not to be touched of any beast.

After this the angel of our Lord appeared to a certain old man, commanding him to take up the bodies and bury them in his house, which old man took a cousin of his, an old woman which dwelled with him in his cell, and went to the place where they had been beheaded. And because it was nigh to the river, they might lightly be brought to the cell by water, but they had no ship ne boat ready, ne they couth not the craft of rowing, ne had the strength to bring them against the stream of the river. And when they came to the place, they found the bodies of the saints and a boat ready in the river, ordained by our Lord. Then, they having hope and trust in our Lord, each of them took up a body of the martyrs, and went freely without burthen, in such wise that it seemed to them that they bare no burthen, but that they were borne of the burthens. And they entering with the holy bodies into the little boat, without oars and governail that might be seen, against the strong stream of the flood were brought unto the rivage of his cell, and there buried them in his oratory. And when the persecution of them ceased the honour of them was showed to the people by miracles. In such wise that a great church was afterwards made in the honour of the holy saints, of true christian people. Then let us pray to them that they pray for us, et cetera.