St. FlorianA Solider, A leader, but above all else a Christian. St. Florian was not only a great man, but was loyal to God through all his hardships. An admirable characteristic such as that is what deems him a Saint of Christians. While much of St. Florian's life from childhood to adolescence is clouded in mystery, the event that lead to his demise is greatly recorded in history. St. Florian was probably not the greatest Saint ever nor the most famous but he is a memorable saint we can relate to in our everyday lives.Florian was born in Austria in the 4th century about 250 A.D. in Cetium (Austria). The St. Florian was an officer of the Roman army. He joined the Roman Army as a youth, and through hard work and determination he advanced through the ranks. He occupied a high administrative post in Noricum. His actual position is still disputed; some believe he was a captain while others argue he held the equivalent of a "fire chief" (hence his position in the Christian community as patron of firefighters). The Emperor Diocletian and his assistant Maximian liked Florian because of his abilities to solve problems and work with people. They saw Florian as a man capable of handling heavy responsibilities. He did fulfill his duty for the Roman army and all was well, until Praeses Aquilnus was assigned to Noricum.Aquilnus was a man who held many of the same views as the emperor, which was probably why he achieved his rank. One of these views was that all Christians were practicing heterodoxy against the Gods of the Roman Empire. With this heresy came the ultimate punishment, death. With Aquilnus' arrival all Christian churches, scriptures, and people alike were destroyed. It is believed that over 20,000 people in that region were tortured and killed. Among the many Roman soldiers ordered to persecute the Christians was St. Florian. Florian was obviously a Christian himself but up until then he had been a closet one. When he was ordered to kill a group of Christians he refused saying, "I shall travel to the Praeses and suffer the various tortures in the name of Christ." With this he set out to defy the emperor's beliefs and the beliefs of all his people. Florian certainly showed his leadership here when he went against all that he had known. Upon his arrival he was ordered to make a sacrifice to the Roman Gods but he refused claiming his Christianity again.Through this act he was brought before the Praeses. The Praeses Aquilnus, knowing Florian's reputation, offered Florian the opportunity to abandon his faith and continue on with his life. Florian refused though, and as a result was beaten brutally. After being beaten he was again asked to revoke his faith, but Florian held true to the fact that he was always a Christian before a solider. After denouncing the Roman religion again he was sent through a series of horrific torture. There are many stories as to the punishments he went through but the few that are usually agreed upon are many. After his beating his shoulder blades were crushed and hook put through them. To this St. Florian answered in prayer and proclaimed furthermore that he would remain a Christian till death. The further angered the Praeses and he had Florian sent to be burned. Florian told them, "If you attempt to burn me I will climb above the flames to heaven." God answered the prayer of Florian though and he was saved from the fire, as much as the soldiers tried they could not create even a spark to burn Florian with. This miracle only went to further his position as a patron of fire fighters. His final tortures were being skinned alive and then unceremoniously drowned with a rock tied to his neck. Through all these tortures he was many times offered relief if he subdued to the wishes of his superiors, but never once did he give in to the temptation, rather remained loyal to God.After he was drowned it is said that God placed him on shore where he had a catholic woman named Valeria bury him. While she was taking Florian to the burial sight her horses became tired and could go no further. Florian asked God to create a stream for her beasts to rest at. God created the stream and she continued on with the burial. To this day hundreds of miracles have been reported to have taken place at this stream. St. Florian's grave was later moved to St. Florian's cathedral where many miracles of healing were also said to have happened. One example of this was a man who was beaten because he prayed for the Saint on his feast day (May 4). When he arrived at the Saint's altar half dead he arose unharmed. Other healing miracles pertained to St. Florian were the healing an old woman who could not walk and the healing of man with crushed genitals. These miracles were all pretty famous in the church. However the miracle St. Florian is responsible for that is probably the most famous is when a woman prayed to him while her whole town was on fire. She was able to put the whole town fire out with one bucket of water. This was another reason he was deemed patron of the fire fighter.St. Florian's faith journey is recorded only in the end but it is still an amazing one. In childhood you discover tradition and religion. In adolescence you find faith in it. Finally in adulthood you sculpt and make your own personal beliefs and live by them. St. Florian's sculpting was only this, to always love God. St. Florian had so much to lose but when the challenge came Florian did not hesitate to be a Christian before a soldier. In my personal belief the same thing Florian faced is something we face everyday. That is to have faith in God. Too often do we find our selves doubting God's existence, or doubting he will be there for us. Florian is an exemplary person in face of this challenge. Not for a second did he believe God would not be there for him. Throughout the many tortures he did not lose faith. While we don't face this challenge in nearly the same degree as St. Florian we still face it everyday. The fact that Florian faced it under more horrifying conditions only goes towards his Sainthood.St. Florian was first a Roman soldier for most of his life, then when the time came he became a leader and broke away from his society, and in face of fear he became a true Christian. St. Florian's story is a short one and it doesn't contain a confusing and hidden moral but the simplicity of it is what makes it great. We often forget our Christian fundamentals and this Saint reminds us to always have faith in God, whether you're tortured as he was or just faced with a small dilemma. St. Florian was a great man and a simple Christian who faced great pained and fought it with a simple ethic.