Quirinus of Neuss

Quirinus of Neuss (German: Quirin, Quirinus), sometimes called Quirinus of Rome (which is the name shared by another martyr) is venerated as a martyr and saint of the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. His cult was centered at Neuss in Germany, though he was a Roman martyr.

Saint Quirinus of Neuss
Saint Quirinus and Saint Balbina
Died30 March 116
Rome, Italy
Venerated inCatholic Church,
Eastern Orthodox Church
Major shrineNeuss
FeastApril 30
Attributesmilitary attire; knight with lance, sword, hawk; banner or sign with nine balls[1]
PatronageNeuss; Correggio, Italy; invoked against the bubonic plague, smallpox, and gout; afflictions associated with the legs, feet, ears; paralysis; ulcers; Goiter; skin conditions; diseases affecting cattle and horses;[2] patron saint of animals;[3] patron saint of knights, soldiers, and horsemen[4]

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, a Roman martyr named Quirinus was buried in the Catacomb of Prætextatus on the Via Appia. The Martyrologium Hieronymianum (ed. De Rossi-Duchesne, 52) mentions Quirinus' name and place of burial. The Itineraries to the graves of the Roman martyrs (Giovanni Battista De Rossi, "Roma sotterranea", I, 180-1) also mention these two pieces of information.[5]

The Martyrologium Hieronymianum assigns him under the feast day of April 30, the date that appears in the catalogue of Roman martyrs of the 4th century.[5]


Quirinus is introduced into the legendary Acts of Sts. Alexander and Balbina, where it is said he was a tribune (Dufourcq, loc. cit., 175). He is said to have been decapitated in 116. Legends make him a Roman tribune who was ordered with executing Alexander, Eventius, and Theodolus, who had been arrested by order of Trajan.[3] Quirinus converted to Christianity, however, after witnessing miracles performed by these three saints, and he was baptized along with his daughter Balbina.[3] He was then martyred on March 30 by being decapitated and was then buried catacomb of Prætextatus on the Via Appia.


Reliquary holding Quirinus' relics. Neuss.

Ado took the name from these Acts and put it in his Martyrology under date of March 30, on which day it used to be found in the Roman Martyrology (Quentin, "Les martyrologes historiques", 490). The latest edition of the Roman Martyrology commemorates Saint Quirinus on April 30.

According to a document from Cologne dating from 1485, Quirinus' body was donated in 1050 by Pope Leo IX to an abbess of Neuss named Gepa (who is called a sister of the pope).[3] In this way the relics came to the Romanesque Church of St. Quirinus at Neuss (Quirinus-Münster) which still exists. A statue of Quirinus sits atop the church (which Jean-Baptiste Bernadotte attempted to plunder during the Napoleonic Wars[6]).

Inhabitants of that city invoked him for aid during Siege of Neuss by Charles the Bold that occurred in 1474-5.[2][3] His cult spread to Cologne, Alsace, Scandinavia, western Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy, where he became the patron saint of Correggio.[3] Numerous wells and springs were dedicated to him, and he was invoked against the bubonic plague, smallpox, and gout; he was also considered a patron saint of animals.[3] Pilgrims to Neuss sought the Quirinuswasser (Quirinus water) from the Quirinusbrunnen (Quirinus spring or pump-room).[6]

A farmers' saying associated with Quirinus' former feast day of March 30 was "Wie der Quirin, so der Sommer" ("As St. Quirinus' Day goes, so will the summer").[2]

Quirinus, along with Hubertus, Cornelius and Anthony, was venerated as one of the Four Holy Marshals ('Vier Marschälle Gottes) in the Rhineland.[2][7][8] Portraits of Quirinus and of St. Valentine appear at the top of the recto of the Nuremberg Chronicles (Folio CXXII [Geneva]).[9]


  1. ^ Nine in reference to an interpretation of the Latin name of Neuss, Novesia, from "novem," meaning "nine."
  2. ^ a b c d Quirinus von Rom (von Neuss) - Ökumenisches Heiligenlexikon
  3. ^ a b c d e f g San Quirino
  4. ^ Diu Minnezît - Kleidung - Filzkappe
  5. ^ a b CATHOLIC ENCYCLOPEDIA: Sts. Quirinus
  6. ^ a b Josef Theodor Rath (1994). "Quirinus of Neuss". In Bautz, Traugott (ed.). Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL) (in German). 7. Herzberg: Bautz. cols. 1130–1131. ISBN 3-88309-048-4.]
  7. ^ marschaelle
  8. ^ Die Kapelle
  9. ^ Old World Auctions - Lot Detail

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