St. Firmin Polychrome Reliefs - Amiens Cathedral

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Detail Saint Firmin Preaching

 

According to legend St Firmin a disciple of St Saturninus of Toulouse, founded the first church in Amiens in the third century. Not much is known about him and his biography was mostly invented in the eight century. The legend as developed from the eighth century on the life of St. Firmin is told in these late Gothic polychromatic reliefs, made between 1490 and 1530, that are around the south ambulatory of Amiens Cathedral.

 

Saint Firmin arrives in Amiens

 

Firmin being desparate to achieve martyrdom travelled from the south of France to the pagan areas of Gaul (northern France). He was arrested by the Roman authorities in Lisieux but for some reason the governor died and he was released. He then travelled to Amiens

 

Saint Firmin Preaching

Baptising the People of Amiens

 

where he established a large church, and where he converted and baptised many of the inhabitants.

 

Arrest and Beheading

 

The pagan priests are then supposed to have reported Firmin to visiting Roman officials, who had Firmin arrested.

 

Exhumation of the Remains

 

In the seventh century the then bishop of Amiens St Salve gets the people and clergy to pray for a sign as to where Firmins body is buried. God on the third day sends a ray of the sun, which pierced the wall of the monastery where the body lay. When they dig there they find the body of St Firmin.

 

Bringing the Relics To Amiens

 

As the body was carried through the streets of Amiens a number of miracles happen: trees and meadows flowered and came into leaf, the sick were healed, and the rich released their servants and serfs from servitude.