Hyacinth was a young Christian living in the early 2nd century, honored as a martyr and saint by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. Hyacinth is sometimes called by its Latin name Hyacinthus (in French: Hyacinthe; in Spanish: Jacinto; and in Italian: Giacinto).
The holy martyr Hyacinth was a native of Cappadocia and, at the age of eighteen, he served as chamberlain (cubicular) in the court of Emperor Trajan (96-116).
One day when the emperor was celebrating a sumptuous feast in honor of the idols, the saint withdrew to one side to pray. One of his colleagues, named Urbicius, having noticed him, went to denounce him to the sovereign. The emperor, who was at table, ordered this rebel to be brought to him immediately, and handing him food offered in sacrifice to idols, he wanted to force him to taste it before him. The saint, arming himself with the sign of the Cross, refused and urged the emperor to renounce the worship of demons to recognize the one true God. Angered by his assurance, the sovereign had him beaten on the mouth and handed him over to the soldiers who, having beaten him with their feet, forced his mouth open to make him eat the unholy dishes. Seeing that his servants were toiling in vain, Trajan left the banquet hall furious, giving orders to throw the saint into prison, his feet clamped in a vice.
The next day, Hyacinth appeared in the amphitheater and declared to the emperor that no torture could convince him to exchange eternal life for the enjoyments of this life of misery. The executioners beat him with such ferocity that their faces were covered with his blood, and when they were exhausted, they hung him on the rack to slash his sides. Victorious over suffering through the overflow of his love of God, the saint cried: “O Trajan, without wanting it, you provide me with the greatest benefit, by teaching me to endure the sufferings of Christ! The more cruel your tortures, the greater will be my faith! » He thus suffered the torments for seven hours, at the end of which he was taken back to prison.
The emperor ordered that no other food be presented to him except meat sacrificed to idols, which was placed before him every day. Turning away with disgust from this tangible sign of the worship of demons, the valiant athlete of Christ remained without taking food or drink for many days, nourished only by his faith and by prayer. On the thirty-eighth day, the chief jailer, who came to place the usual dishes before him, saw a dazzling light shining in the dungeon where the saint stood, his face radiant, with two angels at his side. Dropping the food, he immediately went to report the matter to the emperor who, believing that it was a hallucination, ordered Hyacinthe to be subjected to new torments. On the fortieth day, the jailers who came to fetch him to appear before Trajan, found him dead, surrounded by angels with human appearance, who held candles in their hands. The tyrant, without being in any way moved, then had his body thrown to the wild beasts on a mountain.
The priest Timothy, a relative of the saint, was led by an angel to the place where the body was. He was able to bury it decently, and, when he was dying, he ordered a pious widow to watch over the safekeeping of the precious relic. After many years, Saint Hyacinth appeared to a man of senatorial rank from this region, who had just been struck blind. He healed him and, after revealing to him where his body was kept by the widow, he ordered him to transfer it to his homeland. But after the healing, the man forgot his promise, and immediately began to lose his sight. Healed again by the saint, he obeyed and had the body transported to Caesarea. Arriving at the entrance to the city, the animals which dragged the chariot on which the relic was placed, headed straight towards the saint's family home, where they stopped.
Hyacinth died in the city of Rome. Later, the relics of the saint were transferred to Caesarea.
A jewel-encrusted human skeleton in a gilded glass case labeled "S. HYACINTHUS M." (Saint Hyacinth, Martyr) is preserved and venerated in a secular building that was the Roman Catholic abbey church of the former Cistercian abbey of Fürstenfeld (in Bavaria, Germany), of which the church is the only surviving structure. The skeleton arrived at Fürstenfeld Abbey on an unknown date. Writing about the skeletons of Europe's "catacomb saints", art historian Paul Koudounaris states that they "could have been anyone, but they were pulled from the ground and raised to the heights of glory ".