…and who ever said the church was so opposed to alcohol?
St. Trifon Zarezan, or St. Trifon the Pruner
Saint Trifon was/is the Bulgarian patron saint of vine growers and winemakers.
Rumor has it that Trifon was also named “the drunkard” due to his love of vino. All was going so well for good ol’ St. Trif, until according to legend, he laughed at a vision of the virgin Mary (after she dropped by his vineyard one day) and stated that she didn’t know who the father of her son was. He clearly favored himself as Maury Povich….
For his sins, he was forced to cut off his nose with a pair of pruning shears. OUCH!!!
February 14th, but he kind-of gets overshadowed by St Valentine! He can also be celebrated on the 1st of February, in-line with the Gregorian calendar.
St. Vincent of Saragossa
Official patron saint of winemakers and vinegar makers, which is the same thing I guess, depending on who is making the wine…
With the persecution of Christians under the Romans (around 304AD), both him and his Bishop, Valerius, were put on trial for refusing to burn his sacred scripture.
Supposedly, Valerius suffered from a speech impediment (in the wine business we call that “slurring”), so Vincent did all the talking. Unfortunately, he probably should have hired a real lawyer as Vincent was sentenced to brutal torture, but Bishop Valerius was only exiled.
St. Morand spent most of his time in Germany, and even though he was a “spoilt little rich kid” (Morand came from a wealthy family), he choose priesthood as his profession and became a Benedictine monk.
Morand is one of the less well-known Saints, maybe for the fact that his biggest accomplishment was that he lived through Lent off a single bunch of grapes.
June 3rd is known as the feast day for St. Morand.
St. Armand of Maastricht
Saint Amand was obviously a popular fella! He is the patron saint of brewers, innkeepers and bartenders (I don’t want to assume, but he sounds like kind of an alcoholic!). He’s also the patron saint of vine growers, vintners and merchants, and for some reason also the Patron of the Boy Scouts! Weird combination…
Similar to St. Morand, Armand was a “rich kid,” being raised in the Western-French province of Poitou. He lead much of his early religious life as a hermit, almost 15 years in fact, before he took it upon himself to start converting non-believers throughout France and Germany to Christianity.
It is reported that on his travels, Saint Armand tried to force King Dagobert of Burgundy to repent his sins (since he was renowned for his concubines), to which Dagobert exiled Morand from much of France. He continued to preach Christianity until the age of 90.
Saint Urban (sounds like a rapper to me!) was heavily involved in the fight against alcoholism, and is the patron saint of Dijon (in the Northern Burgundy wine region of France) and also of wine barrel coopers. He is also particularly popular with German winemakers, hence the phrase: “Ist Sonnenschein am Urbanstag / gedeiht der Wein nach alter Sag” which translates to “If there is sunshine on St. Urban’s Day/ the wine thrives afterwards they say.”Famous for:
Saint Urban is famous for escaping religious persecution in 374AD, and fleeing into a vineyard (as you do!). Whilst there, he somehow managed to convert everyone working the vines to Christianity.
As he moved from vineyard to vineyard, his following grew in size (probably with a little help from the free wine he was dishing out) and is said to have developed many good friendships with winemakers and vineyards workers. For this reason, Saint Urban is the patron saint of everyone who works in the wine industry….even Robert Parker…for his sins…
The feast day of St. Urban is 2 April, or 23 January in Langres, France.