Saint Minias lived in the third century and is considered the first Christian martyr of Florence, to whom the Church of San Miniato al Monte is dedicated. According to legend, we was an Armenian soldier or prince who was brought before the Emperor Decius in 250 or 270 and asked to deny Christ and make sacrifices to the Roman gods. Minias refused and was “thrown into a furnace, was lapidated, and was thrown to a lion or a panther at an amphitheater—from which he emerged unharmed.” According to Villani’s Croniche Fiorentine, Decius then:
caused him to be beheaded where now stands the church of Santa Candida alla Croce al Gorgo; and many faithful followers of Christ received martyrdom at that place. And when the head of the blessed Miniato had been cut off, by a miracle of Christ, with his hands he set it again upon his trunk, and on his feet passed over Arno, and went up to the hill where now stands his church, where at that time was a little oratory in the name of the blessed Peter the Apostle, where many bodies of holy martyrs were buried; and when S. Miniato was come to that place, he gave up soul to Christ, and his body was there secretly buried by the Christians; the which place, by reason of the merits of the blessed S. Miniato, was devoutly venerated by the Florentines after that they were become Christians, and a little church was built there in his honour.