Early Christian Martyrs in Art Photos
Early Christians were persecuted and martyred, reaching a height (c303-312) under directions of Roman leaders Diocletian & Galerius. During the early years all the martyred were automatically named as saints. Their visual attributes usually relate to their method of martyrdom or a miracle they facilitated. The official killing of Christians stopped when Emperor Constantine recognized Christianity in the Edict of Milan in 313.
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Attrib. 3 stones
|First Christian martyr. As a deacon appointed by the Apostles, he denounced Jewish authorities & was stoned to death.|
Attrib. hand organ - patron saint of music.
|Arrested for burying martyred Christians.|
(martyred 3rd C)
Attrib. pierced by arrows.
|An officer in Roman army, his Christianity was discovered & he was to be killed by arrows. Left for dead, he recovered, but was later beaten to death. upon orders of Emperor Diocletian.|
Attrib. Christ Child on shoulder of giant crossing torrent.
|Giant who carried travelers across river. When he carried Christ Child, he also bore the weight of the world resting on Christ's shoulders.|
Attrib. grid-iron / grill.
|As Emperor persecuted Christians, Lawrence sold church holdings & gave money to poor, not to Rome. In retaliation, Lawrence was roasted on a red-hot grill.|
Attrib. carrying his severed head.
|First Bishop of Paris, beheaded & carried his own head to north end of Paris.|
Attrib. breasts on plate & pincers.
|Venerated for steadfast faith despite torture while resisting tyrant's attempt to force her to work in brothel.|
|Behead for refusal to give up faith & purity when sent to brothel.|
|Tortured & imprisoned in a tower by her father for refusal give up purity to marry.|
|St Catherine of Alexandria
Attrib. Broken torture wheel with spikes, sword.
|Condemned by Emperor Maxentius to die on spiked wheel after she denounced him for persecution of Christians, but the wheel miraculously broke. She was beheaded instead.|
Attrib. basket of flowers & fruit.
|Refused to worship Roman gods. Before execution lawyer mocked her to send fruit from her garden of heaven. Before execution a basket of fruit & roses appeared, which made lawyer convert.|
Attrib. X-shaped cross; stake & dove.
|Criticized Roman governor in Spain for persecution of Christians & was herself crucified.|
Attrib. sword on neck, eyes on plate, candle.
|Vowing to live as a chaste Christian, she was turned in by man to whom she had been promised. She miraculously escaped several executions.|
Attrib. dragon at her feet.
|In prison as a Christian, swallowed by devil in dragon-form, but disgorged her because of her cross. She survived fire & drowning, but was beheaded.|
|Sts Cosmas and Damian
Attrib. box or vials of ointment.
|Twin brother medical doctors who as Christians were tortured & beheaded and credited with miracle cures after death.|
Attrib. building on fire.
|Roman officer who was Christian, turned himself in to face execution by drowning. Invoked to keep buildings from fire.|
Attrib. Armoured knight slaying dragon.
|Fought in Palestine, he became symbol of knighthood. Said to have rescued princess from dragon.|
All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Jim Steinhart.
All rights reserved. Permission required to use.