|San Firmino di Amiens, ora pro nobis|
A San Fermín pedimos, por ser nuestro patrón, nos guía en el encierro, dándonos su bendición*September 25th is the Feast of San Firmino di Amiens, Bishop and Martyr. Patron Saint of the city of Amiens in France and the region of Navarre in Spain, he is also invoked by bakers, boot makers, wine traders, and of course the mozos, the foolhardy daredevils who run with the bulls each year in Pamplona, Spain during the famed Los Sanfermines, or San Fermin Festival.
According to tradition, San Firmino was a native of Pamplona in the region of Navarre. Born of noble birth (his father was a senator), his family converted to Christianity and were baptized by St. Saturninus of Toulouse. In time, he was ordained into the priesthood by St. Honoratus at Tolosa (modern Toulouse) in Roman Gaul. Returning to Navarre, he was appointed the first Bishop of Pamplona.
Years later, San Firmino travelled up north to the remote regions of Gaul to preach and evangelize. Converting thousands to the faith, he eventually settled at Amiens and became the town's first Bishop. Repeatedly running afoul with the pagan priests, San Firmino was denounced as a Christian, imprisoned and ultimately beheaded.
San Firmino's cult was established in Pamplona in the twelfth-century with the arrival of his relics from Amiens. Somehow conflated with the martyrdom of St. Saturninus, who was dragged to his death by a bull at a mithraeum in Tolosa, the holy cephalophore (head-carrier) is also venerated on July 7th with a resplendent nine-day fête.
From July 6th-14th, Los Sanfermines is replete with religious and cultural traditions. Among the most popular are the festive processions with papier maché Gigantes and cabezudos (Giants and big heads), the Riau-Riau dance said to have been introduced by the Carlists in 1914 to annoy their liberal rivals, and of course the world-famous running of the bulls.
In celebration, we're posting a prayer to St. Fermin. The accompanying photo of St. Fermin Holding His Head (ca. 1225-75, Amiens) was taken at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Viva San Fermin! Gora San Fermin!
Prayer to St. Fermin of Amiens
O Glorious St. Firmin of Amiens, you served God in humility and confidence on earth, now you enjoy His beatific vision in Heaven. Help me to strengthen my faith and protect me in conflict. Obtain for me the grace to live a holy life, so that one day I may join you in the Kingdom of Heaven. Amen(*) “We ask San Fermín, as our patron, to guide us through the bull run, giving us his blessing.” Prayer recited three times before the running of the bulls.