Saints of the Day – Quentin of Amiens

detail of a painting of the Martyrdom of Saint Quentin, artist unknown, southern Netherlands, 1537; Museum M, Leuven, Belgium; photographed on 12 October 2013 by Daderot; swiped from Wikimedia CommonsArticle

(also known as Quintinus)

Died 287. When we read the lives of the martyrs who offered their lives as a testimony to a grateful heart – a heart that humbly acknowledges the sacrifice of our Lord for a sinner – we are forced to question our own lives. Are we witnesses to God’s infinite love at least by lives of self-denial, humility, and self-giving? We may never be called to shed our blood, but what about our time, talent, and treasure?

According to legend Quentin was a Roman, the son of Zeno of senatorial rank. It is said that filled with apostolic zeal, Quentin travelled to Gaul as a missionary with Saint Lucian of Beauvais. Quentin settled at Amiens in Picardy, while Lucian continued to Beauvais, where he won the martyr’s crown.

By his multitudinous prayers and continuous hounding of heaven, Quentin wrought many miracles that confirmed the truth of the Gospel he preached among the heathen. He was so successful in preaching that he was imprisoned by Prefect Rictovarus (Rictius Varus), who had travelled there from Trier. Quentin was manacled, tortured repeatedly, and thrown into a dungeon. When Rictovarus left Amiens, he commanded Quentin to be brought to Augusta Veromanduorum (later Somme, now St-Quentin), through which Rictovarus would pass upon his return to Trier. Here Quentin was again tortured, beheaded, and thrown into (or drowned in) the River Somme.

The body was recovered by Christians several days later and buried on a mountainside. One-half century later, it was discovered by a devout woman named Eusebia. A blind women recovered her sight by the sacred relics. During the reign of Julian the Apostate, the place of his burial was again lost to memory, though a chapel which was built near it remained. When Saint Eligius found the relics in 641 after a concerted effort, he distributed the nails with which Quentin’s body had been pierced, as well as the saint’s teeth and hair. The remainder Eligius placed in a rich shrine made by his own hands. This was placed behind the high altar at Noyon. The relics have been translated several times since then and are now kept in Laon.

There is no doubt that he is a historical person; however, his story has been much embellished (Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).

He is shown as a young man with two spits (1) as a deacon; (2) with a broken wheel; (3) with a chair to which he is transfixed; (4) with a sword; or (5) beheaded, a dove flying from his severed head. He is venerated at Amiens. Patron of bombardiers, chaplains, locksmiths, porters, tailors, and surgeons. Invoked against coughs, sneezes, and dropsy (Roeder).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 August 2020. Web. 2 December 2020. <>