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The Saints In Art - L

( Originally Published 1908 )

LAMBERT, ST. (Bishop of Maestricht). (17th September)

He lived in the dark period of the later Merovingian kings, and dared to remonstrate with Pepin, the " Maire du Palais," for his conduct. In consequence, he was murdered in his house near Maestricht, as he knelt in prayer, in 709.

He is represented in episcopal robes, with a martyr's palm in his hand, and a lance or javelin at his feet.

LAWRENCE, ST. (Ital. SAN LORENZO ; Fr. ST. LAUREnt). (10th August)

Tradition says he was a native of Aragon ; deacon to Pope Sixtus II. He was after-wards chosen as the first archdeacon, and given charge of the vessels and embroideries of the altar, and of its services. When Sixtus was led away to martyrdom, Lawrence be-sought that he might go with him, and wept ; but Sixtus said that he should follow in three days to a much more painful death. Mean-while he told him to take all the possessions of the Church, and distribute them to the poor, which St. Lawrence did, visiting from house to house. On his rounds he came to the house of a devout widow, Cyriaca, on the Ccelian Hill, who concealed and ministered to the Christians. She was sick, and he healed her by laying on of hands, and washed the feet of the Christians in the house. When the Prefect heard that St. Lawrence had the treasures of the Church, he threw him into prison, under the charge of a certain Hippolytus, who was converted and baptised, with all his family. The Prefect then asked where the treasures were, and St. Lawrence said he would show him in three days, at the end of which time he called together the poor and sick, and said : " Here are the treasures of Christ's Church."

The Prefect, in a rage, ordered St. Lawrence to be bound on a gridiron, and roasted over fires. In the midst of his torture he uttered his famous taunt : " Seest thou not that I am roasted on one side ? Turn me on the other." So he died, and Hippolytus came in the night, and took the body, and buried it. When the Prefect heard this he seized Hippolytus, and commanded him to be tied to the tail of a wild horse, and so he too suffered martyrdom.

St. Lawrence is represented young, as a deacon. Sometimes he holds a dish or bag of gold, the treasure of the Church, or a censer, or cross ; but his distinguishing attribute is a gridiron.

His life is represented in Fra Angelico's frescoes in the chapel of Nicholas V. in the Vatican.

LAZARUS, ST. (Biblical). (See ST. MARY MAGDALEN.) (17th December)

Often with SS. Martha and Mary. Represented as a bishop : sometimes a bier or graveclothes are introduced.

LEANDER and ISIDORE, SS. (27th February and 4th April)

Two Spanish brothers, who were successively Bishops of Seville, and are patrons of that city. They were often represented with the martyr, Prince Hermengildus, who was killed by his father for relinquishing the Arian doctrines. St. Isidore was a famous theological writer and encyclopedist, and his works were much used in the Middle Ages.

LEOCADIA, ST. (Patron Saint of Toledo). (9th December)

She was a native of that city, and during the persecution of Diocletian she was thrown into a dungeon. While there she heard of the martyrdom of her friend, St. Eulalia, and prayed that she might join her. Her prayer was granted, for she died in prison. She has always been held in great reverence in Toledo, where magnificent churches have been built in her honour. Another legend says that she was thrown from the rocks and killed, and afterwards appeared to St. Ildefonso, telling him, that his work in honour of the Virgin was approved in heaven. She left with him a portion of her veil, which was preserved as a relic. (See ST. ILDEFONSO.)

LEONARD, ST. (of Aquitaine). (Fr. ST. LEONARD or LIONART.) (Patron Saint of Prisoners and Slaves.) (6th and 7th November)

According to legend, he was a youth at the court of King Theodobert of France. He was converted, and baptised by St. Benignus, and became endued with a spirit of charity. He spent his time in visiting and ministering to prisoners (sometimes seeking their pardon from the King) and his money in liberating captive slaves. Finding it difficult to combine the duties of a courtier with the life he desired, he became a hermit, and lived for several years in the desert near Limoges. One day, as the King, with his wife and courtiers, was but hunting in the neighbourhood, the Queen was suddenly taken ill, and seemed about to die, when she was relieved by the prayers of St. Leonard, and safely brought forth a child. The King, in gratitude, gave him a piece of land there, and he cleared it, and formed a religious community, in which he died, in 559. He was ordained deacon, but took no higher order, though he became abbot of the institution he founded. He is claimed by the Benedictines.

He is represented as a deacon, or in the black or white tunic of his order, holding fetters, his distinguishing attribute.

LONGINUS, ST. (Patron Saint of Mantua). (15th March)

The soldier who pierced the side of CHRIST, at the crucifixion, was, according to legend, a centurion, named Longinus. He was baptised, and became a Christian teacher, and suffered martyrdom.

He is represented in armour, with a long lance, in pictures of the Crucifixion, or as Patron of Mantua.

Mantegna's " Madonna of the Victory," in the Louvre.


Born of a noble family, in 1380. At the age of nineteen, called to the service of GOD by a miraculous vision, he took refuge with the Augustine Hermits at San Giorgio in Alga. Becoming distinguished for his charities and penances, he was appointed Bishop of Castello, and a few years afterwards the first Patriarch of Venice. He died, greatly venerated for his humility and zeal, in 1455.

LOUIS BELTRAN, ST. (or BERTRAN). (9th October)

A native of Valencia, who took the Dominican habit, and became a celebrated preacher and missionary in the sixteenth century. He travelled as far as Peru, where he taught for several years, and then re-turned to Spain. He was a friend of St. Theresa.

LOUIS, ST. (of France). (Ital. SAN LUIGI.) (25th August)

The history of Louis IX., King of France, and his eminence in virtue and piety, are well known. He is claimed by the Franciscans, for he assumed the habit of the Third Order of Penitence before he em-barked on his first Crusade. He was influenced by the two great passions of his age—for Crusades, and for relics ; and succeeded in bringing the Crown of Thorns, as was supposed, to Paris, where he built over it the Sainte Chapelle. He died in 1270, and was canonised in 1297.

He is represented with his crown and sceptre, though these are sometimes at his feet ; and his proper attribute is the Crown of Thorns, generally held in his hand.

Frescoes by Giotto in Santa Croce, Florence.

LOUIS, ST. (of Toulouse). (Ital.SAN LUDOVICO.) (19th August)

Great-nephew of Louis IX. (St. Louis) of France, and grandson of Charles of Anjou, King of Naples and Sicily. At the age of fourteen he was taken as a hostage for his father by the King of Aragon, and when he was released from captivity, after several years, he gave up all his rights to his brother Robert, and became a Franciscan friar. He was soon after made Bishop of Toulouse, and died, at the age of twenty-four, in I297.

He is represented as very young, with episcopal robes over the Franciscan habit, and generally with fleurs-de-lys on some part of his dress.

Fresco by Giotto and statue by Donatello, in Santa Croce, Florence, and picture by Simone Martini, in San Lorenzo, Naples.

LUCY, ST. (Ital. LUCIA; Fr. LUCE). (13th December)

Like St. Agatha, she was a native of Sicily. She lived at Syracuse with her mother, who was a widow. They went on pilgrimage to St. Agatha's tomb, and there the mother, Eutychia, was healed of a grievous illness. St. Lucy then insisted on giving all their possessions to the poor ; this so enraged the young man to whom her relations had betrothed her that he denounced her to the Governor of Sicily as a Christian. The Governor commanded her to sacrifice to his idols, and, on her refusing, started a series of tortures to compel her, but when men tried to take her away to persecution, they miraculously became immovable, and men and oxen, pulling her by ropes, produced no effect whatever. As she could not be moved, he ordered her to be burnt ; this failing to hurt her, she was pierced by the sword. A more modern legend says that the youth who wooed her protested that her beautiful eyes gave him no rest, so St. Lucy, fearing that they caused him to offend, cut them out with her own hands, and sent them to him on a dish, whereupon he became a Christian. Later on she recovered her sight. She is invoked against blindness and all diseases of the eyes.

She is represented as young and beautiful, sometimes with a lamp in her hand (in reference to her name), but her distinguishing attribute is her eyes on a salver, or, less frequently, the instrument with which she cut them out.

Tiepolo's "Communion of St. Lucy," in Santi Apostoli, Venice.

LUKE, ST. (Biblical). (See EVANGELISTS.) (18th October)

A tradition of the Greek Church makes St. Luke an artist, and his special delight was to paint the Virgin. He is supposed to have carried everywhere with him a portrait of the Virgin, and by means of it to have made many converts.

He is represented as an evangelist, with an ox, often winged, or, with his easel and brush, painting the Virgin—e.g. picture by Roger Van der Weyden, Pinacoteca, Munich, and by Jean Grossaert, in Museum Prague, and pictures of the School of Raphael, in the Accademia di San Luca, Rome.


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