Florian was born about 250 A.D. in Cetium (Now Austria). He joined the Roman Army as a young man. Through hard work and determination, he advanced through the ranks. The Emperor Diocletian and his assistant Miximian liked Florian because of his ability to solve problems and work well with people. They saw Florian as a man capable of handling great responsibility.
It was for these reasons that the emperor was shocked to learn that Florian was not following his order to punish all the Christians in the area under his command. This punishment included burning Christian churches and literature, stripping them of their work and homes, throwing them in prisons for no reason and finally forcing them to sacrifice to the Roman gods.
The emperor sent his assistant named Aquilius to the area controlled by Florian to kill all the Christians there and to find out why Florian was disobeying his orders. Aquilius approached Florian with an offer to a promotion if he would change his ways and join in the emperor's persecution of the Christian population. Florian refused. Outraged, Aquilius has his soldiers beat Florian with whips. Through all this, steadfast Florian proclaimed, he suffered many wounds for the emperor, why not endure a few scratches for his own beliefs.
His courage genuinely scared Aquilius, who feared Florian would lead others with the same beliefs to rebel against himself and the emperor. He ordered his soldiers to burn Florian. Florian just smiled and challenged the Romans to light the fire saying, "If you try to burn me, I will climb to Heaven on the flames." Apprehensive to his words, Aquilius had Florian stoned alive, finally tying a boulder to his neck and drowning him in a nearby river.
His body was recovered and buried. About 600 years later, a monastery was erected near Florian's tomb, and subsequently the village of Florian grew up around it. Saint Florian was adopted as the patron Saint of Poland after Pope Lucius lll consented to a request by the King for Florian's relicts to be sent to Poland. Soon after, it is believed that a person was saved from death by fire by invoking the name of St. Florian. Legend also says that sometime during his life, Florian saved a village from being destroyed by a fire, simply by throwing one bucket on the flames. For these reasons, St. Florian is regarded in most countries as the patron saint of firefighters and chimney sweepers.