St. Quintinus was a Roman who, his legend tells us, left his country and, attended by St. Lucian of Beauvais, made his way to Gaul. They preached the faith together in that country till they reached Amiens in Picardy, where they parted. St. Quintinus stayed at Amiens, endeavouring by his prayers and labours to make that country a portion of the Lord's vineyard, and the reward of his labours was the crown of martyrdom. The perfect Rictiovarus heard what great progress the Christian faith had made at Amiens, and he ordered Quintinus to be thrown into prison. The next day the holy preacher was brought before the perfect, who tried to win him over with promises and threats; finding him proof against both, he ordered him to be whipped and confined to a dungeon without the liberty of receiving assistance from the faithful. The passio of St. Quintinus is a worthless recital of tortures and marvels. It says that his limbs were stretched with pulleys on the rack till his joints were dislocated, his body torn with iton wire, boiled pitch and oil were poured on his back and lighted torches applied to his sides. By the ministry of an angel he escaped from prison but was taken again while preaching in the market-place. When Rictiovarus left Amiens he commanded Quintinus to be conducted to Augusta Veromanduorum (now Saint-Quentin), where he made fresh attacks upon the confessor of Christ. Ashamed to see himself vanquished by his courage, Rictiovarus ordered him to be tortured anew, and at last his head to be cut off, whereupon a dove issued from the gaping neck and flew away into the heavens. The martyr's body was thrown into the river Somme; but it was recovered by the Christians and buried near the town.
Since St. Gregory of Tours already speaks of a church dedicated in honour of St. Quintinus, there can be little reason for questioning the fact that he was an authentic martyr. But the story has been embellished with all sorts of legendary excrescences and is preserved to us in a great variety of forms, of which a list is given in BHL., nn. 6999-7021. Several of these texts, including accounts of the translations of relics, are reproduced in the long article devoted to St. Quintinus in the Acta Sanctorum, October, vol. xiii. Others have since been discovered, notably a number of Carolingian metrical effusions which have been printed in the Analecta Bollandiana, vol. xx (1901), pp. 1-44. It is interesting to note that the legend of Quintinus was already known to Bede; for his notice, see the Martyrologes historiques of Dom Quentin, who believes it to be authentic.
Butler's Lives of The Saints, Herbert J. Thurston, S.J. and Donald Attwater
Nihil Obstat: PATRICIVS MORRIS, S.T.D., L.S.S., CENSOR DEPVTATVS.
Imprimatur: E. MORROGH BERNARD, VICARIVS GENERALIS
WESTMONASTERII: DIE XXIII FEBRVARII MCMLIII