When you set that one, magical PR, it may have been because you had a spot from above thanks to Saint Hyacinth, the patron saint of strength.
Ok, probably not. But hey, 77% of Americans believe in angels so there's going to be a large, but silent group of lifters and strength trainers who may entertain the idea of a patron saint of strength and/or weightlifting, blessing them, or gifting their lift.
I was sitting in a meeting here last week at Fringe HQ, and as usual, I had my antennae up, always scanning the radar for blog grist. As our convo meandered and maneuvered, somehow "the patron saint of strength" came up. (Please don't ask about all the weird, unusual and "fringe" things that pop up in our meetings.)
We did a quick search and sure enough, Saint Hyacinth appeared, blessing all our training endeavors. So I decided to mix it up a bit and offer a bit of soft news for a change.
Saint Hyacinth, doing the heavy lifting while the world burns.
I'll bet that this isn't who you were imagining. Saint Hyacinth can't exactly be mistaken for Arnold. However, his story might be a lot more interesting. It all started in Poland.
Saint Hyacinth was born in 1185 in Silesia, Poland. He was well connected, as his uncle was the archbishop of Krakow. He got involved in the Dominican order, leading him to Rome, back to Poland and eventually onto Kiev. It was in Kiev that he became legendary.
Mariusz has continued the lineage and made Hyacinth proud.
While doing Dominican, Catholic church stuff in Kiev, Saint Hyacinth ran into a horde of misfortune you could say. The story goes:
"During the Mongol assault on Kiev, St. Hyacinth and his fellow friars prepared to evacuate the city, but before leaving, St. Hyacinth headed to the church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle. After securing the ciborium that contained the Eucharist, St. Hyacinth proceeded to exit the church, but on his way out he heard a voice."
You can see Hyacinth holding the ciborium with his right arm in the picture above. The ciborium is "a receptacle shaped like a shrine or a cup with an arched cover" that holds the Eucharist, or what's more commonly known as the communion wafers.
You can also see those not so polite Mongol hordes destroying Kiev behind him. He was about to flee the church, but divine intervention stopped him.
"The soft, gentle voice of Mary, the Mother of God, rang in the ear of the faithful Dominican. The Blessed Mother instructed him to not abandon her the church. So, St. Hyacinth promptly spun around and grabbed the enormous statue of Mary that dwelt in the sanctuary. Hoisting the stone sculpture onto his shoulder and carrying the ciborium in the other hand, St. Hyacinth marched out of the church with Jesus and Mary in tow."
Leaving church and saving those relics like...
Thus, the patron saint of weightlifting/weightlifters was born. Based on his heroics and display of hysterical strength, Saint Hyacinth became "a paragon of masculine holiness."
Coincidentally Saint Hyacinth is known as San Jacinto in Spanish, which is the name of a major street right here in Austin.
Also of note, is an interesting Polish phrase "Swiety Jacek z pierogami!" The old expression of surprise translates to "Saint Hyacinth and his pierogi." It roughly translates to "good grief" or "holy smokes."
Eating pierogi make you strong.
If you're like me (Polish and from Chicago/"Little Warsaw") you can appreciate a quality pierogi.
But I digress. Due to the legend, Saint Hyacinth is often pictured with Saint Christopher. Who is Saint Christopher?
Saint Christopher is the patron saint of strength. He's portrayed as an extremely tall man, with a prodigious build and jaw-dropping physical stature.
Saint Christopher the skyscraper.
By some accounts, Saint Christopher is said to have stood 7 and a half feet tall. According to legend, not only did he help carry many Christians to safety across a river, but he also carried Jesus as an infant across a river as well.
While we're calling out all the saints of physical fitness, don't forget about Saint Sebastian, patron saint of athletes.
Not convinced, spirituality and strength training mix? Watch this divine strongman.
Want more about the history of weightlifting and strength sports and love nerding out to the culture of the sport? Be sure to check this out.
If you want to replicate Saint Hyacinth's and/or the strongman pastor's feats of strength, read up on the all the ways you can lift heavy stuff here.
Thanks for reading Fringe Nation. If you have any other tales, legends, saints or myths of strength, please share them in the comments below. We'd love to hear who your heroes are.