Vincent Ferrer

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vinzenz Ferrer (detail from the polyptych of St. Vincent Ferrer by Giovanni Bellini , around 1465, S. Giovanni e Paolo, Venice )
Image of a saint on the balcony in Xàbia , from which Ferrer preached on Good Friday 1410 ( Location → )

Vincent Ferrer , Valencian Vicent Ferrer (born January 23, 1350 in Valencia , † April 5, 1419 in Vannes ), was a Valencian Dominican and well-known preacher. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic Church .


Vicent Ferrer came from a Valencian family. His younger brother Boniface joined the Carthusian Order , in which he was later appointed General.

Vicent Ferrer joined the Dominicans in 1367 at the age of seventeen and studied logic in Valencia and Barcelona , then philosophy in Lleida ; further studies - including theology and the Hebrew language - took him again to Barcelona from 1372 to 1374, but also to Toulouse in France until around 1384 . After completing his studies, he was first elected prior of the convent in his hometown, where he was also appointed lecturer of theology at the educational institution attached to the cathedral. In 1389 he was finally elected preacher general of the province.

In 1378 the occidental schism began , the time of the split between the churches with popes and antipopes in Avignon, France . Very early on, Ferrer took a stand in favor of the Avignonese counter-popes , of whose legality he was deeply convinced. In Valencia he made close contacts with the Aragonese royal court and also made the acquaintance of Cardinal Pedro de Luna . This paved the way for him to the Avignon Curia, where he held various positions; as de Luna finally himself as Benedict XIII. Became an antipope, Ferrer served as his confessor . However, the Pope's refusal to accept any unity strivings by the Church and the disappointment with the resulting persistence of the church division led Ferrer to finally withdraw from the Curia.

Through a vision Ferrer saw himself called to be an itinerant preacher. From 1399 he moved first through Spain, then through southern France and Savoy, and so reached northern Italy. In 1409 he returned to Spain, where he was able to establish himself as confessor of the kings with considerable influence. So he was a deputy of Valencia on Compromise of Caspe involved in the succession question after the late Martin of Aragon in favor of Ferdinand of Anquetera was regulated. In Valencia around this time he made the acquaintance of the young canon Alonso de Borja, to whom he prophesied that he would one day - after Ferrer's death - hold the chair of Peter. In fact, Alonso de Borja was named Kalixt III. Elected Pope in 1455.

In the years 1412/14 Ferrer traveled through Castile and Aragon as a penitential preacher . His personal charisma and the prophecies of the near end of the world led to numerous conversions among Jews and Moors .

As the negotiations between the envoy of the Council of Constance , King Sigismund and Benedict XIII. threatened to fail, Ferrer changed his previous position. On April 6, 1416 he announced Benedict, who was only one of two antipopes, the allegiance of the Spaniards publicly, which enabled the Aragonese king to join the Council of Constance. With the election of Pope Martin V from the Italian noble family of Colonna and the deposition of all other popes, this was able to present a generally recognized representative of Christ and finally to end the schism.

In the last years of his life, Ferrer went on a preaching trip again, which took him to Brittany. There he died on April 5, 1419 in Vannes , where he was buried in the local cathedral .


In addition to his ecclesiastical importance through his contribution to ending the schism, he gained importance as a charismatic preacher. In addition, he wrote various theological treatises. His personal charisma, his simple way of life, but above all the announcement of an imminent end of the world such as the expected battle against the Antichrist brought him an enormous number of visitors. His end-time visions, however, often fanatized his supporters to such an extent that anti-Jewish pogroms also broke out; Ultimately, they also led to Spanish politics becoming radicalized on questions of faith, especially in relation to Spanish Judaism.


Ferrer's canonization took place in 1455 by Calixtus III. whom he had once foretold the pontificate . His feast day in the Catholic Church is April 5th . It is a non-mandatory day of remembrance in the Roman general calendar .

The saint is the patron saint of the cities of Valencia and the southern Spanish city of San Vicente del Raspeig , which is named after him. He is also considered the patron saint of roofers, woodworkers, lead casters and brick makers. He is called for infertility, fever, headache, obsession and epilepsy, as well as for dangers of all kinds. In addition, his intercession should lead to a good marriage and also to a blessed death. The attributes of the saint include the representation of fire in the hand and the baptismal font.

Farmer rules

  • "If Saint Vincent is sunshine, it brings in many grains."
  • "If Saint Vincent is sunshine, there is plenty of good wine."



When the saint visited Morella in 1414, the woman with whom he was staying wanted to serve him a meal commensurate with his rank. However, since she was too poor to buy meat, she simply slaughtered her own son and presented him to her high guest. When Vincent Ferrer saw through the situation, he put the boy back together and brought him to life. However, from now on he was missing a little finger: his mother had tasted whether the dish was seasoned enough ... With this legend, the Greek myth of Tantalos , Pelops and the goddess Demeter is evidently received.

Once a woman complained to Vinzenz Ferrer about her quarrelsome husband and asked for a means to endure him. “Go to our monastery,” said the saint, “and tell the porter to give you some water from the monastery well. When your husband comes home, you take a sip of this water. But keep it in your mouth carefully. Then you will experience a miracle! ”The woman did as ordered. When her husband came home that evening, the woman took some of the mysterious water and pressed her lips together to keep the miraculous water in her mouth. And really: soon her husband calmed down and was silent. Then the woman happily rushed to the saint and told him about the success of the secret agent. “The water from the monastery well, which I had given you,” said Vincent, “did not work this miracle, only your silence. In the past you irritated your husband by arguing: Your silence appeased him! ”Even today there is a saying in Spain:“ Drink St. Vincent's water! ”


Web links

Commons : Vincent Ferrer  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. Laura Ackerman Smoller: The Saint and the Chopped-up Baby. The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Cornell University Press, 2014, ISBN 978-0-8014-5217-8 , Figure 16.
  2. ^ Karl-Leisner-Jugend: Trink St. Vinzenzwasser , accessed March 26, 2016