The Four Holy Marshals (Vier Marschälle Gottes or just Vier Marschälle) are four saints venerated in the Rhineland, especially at Cologne, Liège, Aachen, and Eifel. They are conceived as standing particularly close to throne of God, and thus powerful intercessors. Their joint veneration is comparable to that of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, who are also venerated in the Rhineland.
They are considered “marshals of God” and were invoked against diseases and epidemics during the Middle Ages.
Evidence of this devotion is testified by documentation dating from 1478; however, the joint devotion of these four saints may have existed earlier. The devotion reached its high point in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and diminished by the seventeenth. There were churches dedicated to them at Hüngersdorf, Schleiden, and in the Mariwald.
The four saints are:
|Name (Alternate)||Feast day||Patronage|
|Quirinus of Neuss (Quirin)||March 30, April 30||Against smallpox and goiter|
|Hubertus (Hubert)||November 3||Against rabies and dog bites|
|Cornelius||September 16||Against cramps and epilepsy|
|Saint Anthony the Great (Antonius, Antony)||January 17||invoked against the plague|
In terms of protection over animals, Anthony is the patron of pigs, Cornelius cattle, Hubertus dogs, and Quirinus horses. In addition, each saint has its own particular place of special veneration: Anthony was venerated at Cologne, Hubertus at St-Hubert in the Ardennes, Cornelius at Aachen, and Quirinus at Neuss.