Lent Madness: Vincent vs. Charles Simeon

In the second match of the Round of the Saintly Sixteen Charles Simeon takes on Vincent. Simeon was a surprise winner in his opening matchup against Philip while Vincent squeaked past Clement of Alexandria.

In recent action Polycarp pulled away from Justin Martyr to win handily 68% to 32%. Click Lent Madness 2011 to view the updated tournament bracket.

Vincent of Saragossa was a deacon of the early church who was martyred under Emperor Diocletian in 304. Little is known of him but he served under the bishop Valerius and was commissioned to engage a ministry of preaching as the bishop himself had a speech impediment. After his arrest he and his bishop were dragged away in chains and kept in prison for an extended period of time. For some reason Valerius was banished but Vincent was subjected to various cruelties including, but not limited to, the rack, the gridiron, and scourgings. He died in prison.

His symbol is the raven since legend holds that his corpse was tossed to the vultures but was defended by a raven. The body was then tossed into the sea but washed up on shore and was buried by a pious widow. And, for some reason, he is considered the patron saint of vintners.

Here’s a quote that references Vincent from a sermon by Saint Augustine of Hippo: “‘To you has been granted in Christ’s behalf not only that you should believe in him but also that you should suffer for him.’ Vincent had received both these gifts and held them as his own. For how could he have them if he had not received them? And he displayed his faith in what he said, his endurance in what he suffered. No one ought to be confident in his own strength when he undergoes temptation. For whenever we endure evils courageously, our long-suffering comes from him Christ.”

Charles Simeon was an early 19th century British evangelical. He, along with fellow Round One winner William Wilberforce, founded the Church Missionary Society and was also instrumental in starting the unfortunately-named London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.

While he became a prominent preacher and writer, his early ministry didn’t go so well. He was so unpopular at his first parish at Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge that liturgies were frequently interrupted by aggrieved parishioners and he was regularly insulted around town. At times they even locked the doors of the church’s box pews in protest. In time, as evangelicalism became more accepted, he became both well-respected and beloved both by his parishioners and the many Cambridge undergraduates. After the rocky start, Simeon persevered and served as rector for 54 years.

Here’s a quote from one of Simeon’s sermons (hundreds of them were published):  “Be not hasty to offer advice to those who are bowed down with a weight of trouble. There is a sacredness in grief which demands our reverence; the very habitation of a mourner must be approached with awe.”

And another one: “You often feel that your prayers scarcely reach the ceiling; but, oh, get into this humble spirit by considering how good the Lord is, and how evil you all are, and then prayer will mount on wings of faith to heaven.



3 Comments on “Lent Madness: Vincent vs. Charles Simeon”

  1. Vicki says:

    Have to vote for the patron saint of wine-growers – in my wine-growing town in France we always had a fine procession in his honour on the 3rd Sunday in January, with costumes and trumpets and his statue carved out of a twisted vine stalk!

  2. Go Ravens!*

    *Now that I live in Baltimore, I’m required by law to say this.

  3. I want to recommend you a very complete blog about the legend , art and history of Saint Vincent of Saragossa as a very important saint in Spain in fourth century, developed by Via Vicentius . This web is written in Spanish by Via Vicentius but it can be easily translated to english or any other language with the translator tool that the web includes. It would be great if you visit the web for public knowledge of our work .Thanks for your attention.


    Salvador Raga

    Very complete web about pilgrim way from Huesca to Valencia for walkers and cyclists of Saint Vincent of Saragossa as a very important saint in Spain in fourth century, developed by Via Vicentius . It includes maps , history , images and many interesting informations concerning to the martyr saint.

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