San Miniato… Our city, a name that we pronounce many times in a year! But have you ever wondered who San Miniato was? Here is the history of Saint Miniato, first martyr of Florence.
First martire of Florence
Venerated by the Catholic Church as the First Martyr of Florence, its origins are still uncertain: maybe he was a Roman soldier, an Armenian king passing through Florence around 250, a period in which the Christian persecutions of the Roman emperor Decius were in force, or a humble citizen.
The only sure thing is that Miniato refused to venerate the Pagan gods and for this reason he was sentenced to torture. According to legends, during his torture, many miracles happened among which the invulnerability to the fire, after having managed to escape from a red-hot oven where he had been introduced to be burned alive, the liberation from some stumps that were tearing his body and the fact of having managed to tame (or kill) with the only sign of the cross a lion inside the amphitheater of Florence (today no longer visible, but traces can be found between Piazza dei Peruzzi, via dei Bentaccordi and via Tòrta).
History of the beheading of Saint Miniato
Despite everything, however, the Roman soldiers did not give up and decided to behead him. But an even more extraordinary event happened … Again according to legend, the saint got up shortly afterwards, took his head under his arm and went to Mons Florentinus where he died. In that place today stands the beautiful church of San Miniato al Monte which dominates the valley of the city of Florence from above.
Obviously this is one of the best known legends but, as happens with many other saints, the stories of Saint Miniato relating to its origins are still the subject of debate today.
San Miniato is also called a cephalophorus martyr (saints who collect their heads after beheading) and is celebrated on 25 October.