Feast Day – July 21
Not much is said of St. Victor’s date or place of birth, but the account of his life leading up to his martyrdom is very detailed. Victor was a Christian officer serving in the army of Emperor Maximian, who was a terrible man, killing many Christians throughout his reign.
When the army arrived in Marseilles, France, the Christians of the city feared for their lives. St. Victor went about in the night from house to house, visiting the faithful and encouraging them to persevere. One night as Victor was doing this, he was caught and brought before two prefects. These prefects begged him to give up his worship of Jesus Christ, or else he would lose the favour of the prince. St. Victor replied, “I will be faithful to Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, Who became man for our salvation. He raised Himself from the dead, and reigns with God the Father, and is equal to Him”.
Victor, on saying these words, was bound hand and foot and dragged through the streets of the city, exposed to the blows and insults of the people. He was then brought back to the tribunal of the prefects, bruised and bloody, who thought that his sufferings might have weakened his resolution. They ordered him to adore their gods. Victor refused.
He was then put on a rack and tortured, then thrown into a dark dungeon. At midnight, God visited him by His angels; the prison was filled with a light brighter than that of the sun, and the martyr sung with the angels the praises of God. The three guards present, at seeing this sight, fell down and asked to be baptized. Victor instructed them in the Catholic faith as best as time would permit and sent for priests the same night. Then going with them to the seashore, he saw them baptized and returned back with them to the prison.
Maximian, at hearing of the guards’ conversion, ordered all four before him. The guards he had beheaded, sending them on the martyr’s path. With Victor, though, Maximian had him again exposed to the city, where he was insulted, beaten with clubs and scourged with leather thongs. He was then sent back to prison for three days, brought back before the court, and ordered to offer incense to a statue of Jupiter. Victor went up to the profane altar, and kicked it down. The Emperor ordered that Victor’s foot be cut off.
The Emperor then commanded him to be put under the grindstone of a hand-mill and crushed to death. The executioners turned the wheel, and when part of his body was bruised and crushed, the mill broke down. The Saint still breathed a little, but his head was immediately ordered to be cut off. His and the other three bodies were thrown into the sea, but, being cast ashore, were buried by the Christians in a grotto.
St. Victor, Pray for Us.
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