Florian was an officer of the army of Emperor Diocletian, a Roman emperor that devoted much of his focus, energy and resources to the violent persecution of the Christians. Florian, who was already secretly a Christian, was serving in Noricum in Austria when he decided that he could no longer carry out his orders as a soldier and Christian. He made his faith known to the governor of Noricum, Aquilinus. Very much loyal to the emperor, Aquilinus attempted to get Florian to recant, but it was obvious that Florian's faith was stronger than any torture he could devise. His final torture was to be skinned alive before being unceremoniously drowned in the River Enns with a millstone secured about his neck.