Amazing articles on just about every subject...

The Saints In Art - S

( Originally Published 1908 )

SABINA, ST. (29th August)

A noble Roman matron of the second century, martyred in the reign of Hadrian. The church built on the Aventine, on the site of her house, existed as early as 423 A.D.

SCHOLASTICA, ST. (See ST. BENEDICT.) (10th February)


An early German saint, revered at Nuremburg. He is supposed to have been of Anglo-Danish birth, and to have left England with St. Boniface. He travelled through North Germany to Nuremburg, where he lived, preaching and baptising, till he died in about 770.

He is represented as a pilgrim, with a shell in his hat, a rosary, and a staff, some-times holding a church (Nuremburg) in his hand.

SEBASTIAN, ST. (Protector against Plague or Pestilence). (20th January)

A native of Narbonne, of noble parentage, a faithful officer of the Emperor, in the Prętorian Guard. He was secretly a Christian, and converted many to the Faith. Two of his fellow-soldiers, Marcus and Marcellinus, suffered martyrdom, encouraged by Sebastian, who shortly afterwards was condemned to be bound to a stake and shot at with arrows. Pierced by many wounds, he was left for dead, but Irene, the widow of one of his friends, came with her attendants, and found that he still breathed. She tended him night and day till he recovered, and then counselled him to fly from Rome, but he refused, and went forth boldly to meet the Emperor at the gate of his palace, and to reproach him for his cruelty. Diocletian then ordered him to be beaten to death with clubs in the Circus. Arrows, the emblems of pestilence, being considered his instrument of martyrdom, he has been invoked against plague through all ages.

He is represented as a beautiful, often almost undraped, figure, bound, and pierced with arrows.

Notable picture by Sodoma, in Uffizi, Florence.

SECUNDUS, ST. (29th March)

One of the martyr, of the Theban Legion, specially venerated at Asti. (See I". MAURICE.)


According to the writers of the Middle Ages, they were ten in number, named after their respective places of birth or residence--viz. the Persian, Libyan, Delphic, Cumaean, Cytheraan, Samian, Cuman, Hellespontine, Phrygian, and Tiburtine. The last was sup-posed to have shown the Virgin and Child in heaven to the Emperor Augustus in a vision (see ST. MARY VIRGIN). All of them are supposed to have prophesied of CHRIST, more especially the Cumaean, and are introduced into Christian art, constantly associated with the prophets, apostles, and evangelists.

They are represented by graffiti on the pavement of the Duomo, Siena ; in frescoes in the Cappella Sistina, Rome, by Michaelangelo, and in S. Maria della Pace, Rome, by Raphael.

SIMON STYLITES, ST. (5th January and 24th May)

A famous anchorite, who passed thirty years of his life on the top of a pillar ; a type of extreme Oriental asceticism, which he introduced among Christian hermits.

SIMON ZELOTES and JUDE, SS. (THADDEUS or LEBBEUS). (Biblical.) (28th October)

They are generally mentioned and represented together. Legend says that they were both martyred in Persia, St. Simon being sawn asunder, and St. Jude killed with a halberd. According to one tradition they were CHRIST'S kinsmen and companions in child-hood, and are sometimes thus represented ; but according to another they were two of the shepherds to whom CHRIST'S birth was announced, and are therefore regarded as old men at the time of His ministry. Their attributes are a saw and a halberd respectively.

SIXTUS, ST. (See ST. LAWRENCE.) (6th August)

SOPHIA, ST. (or Heavenly Wisdom). (1st August and 30th September)

According to the Greek story, which is purely allegorical, she and her celestial progeny, St. Faith, St. Hope, and St. Charity, were all martyred by the pagans.

STEPHEN, ST. (Biblical). (Deacon and Protomartyr.) (26th December)

He is represented as a young man in the dress of a deacon, with a palm. His attribute is a stone.

Frescoes illustrating his life by Fra Angelico are in the Chapel of Nicholas V. in the Vatican, Rome.

SYLVESTER, ST. (Pope). (31st December)

Bishop of Rome in the time of Constantine. During the persecutions he was concealed for some time in a cavern. The story runs that when Constantine was attacked by leprosy he inquired of his false gods for a cure, and was told to bathe in the blood of three thousand infants ; but when he saw the children torn from their mothers, and ready to be slain, he felt that he would rather die himself, and stayed the deed. St. Peter and St. Paul appeared to him that night, and told him to send to the mountains for St. Sylvester, who would tell him where to wash and be healed. Constantine did so, and, recognising the portraits of the apostles, which Sylvester showed him, was baptised at once, and, a few days afterwards, dug with his own hands the foundation of the new Basilica, now the Lateran. When his mother, Helena, heard of his conversion she told him he should rather have followed the GOD of the Jews. He then told her to bring the most learned Jewish rabbis to try and refute St. Sylvester. She came, accordingly, with a hundred and forty doctors, and St. Sylvester overcame them all. But one of them, who was a magician, demanded a test, and said he could cause a wild bull, which could only be restrained by a hundred men, to fall down dead when he whispered the name of the Omnipotent in his ear. This he did, but St. Sylvester said that the Name of CHRIST the Redeemer would do more : it would restore the bull to life, which the magician could not do. Convinced by the performance of this miracle, everyone present believed. An allegorical story is also told that St. Sylvester overcame a most destructive dragon, and bound its mouth three times with a thread, sealed with the sign of the cross. He also sheltered in his house Timotheus, a Christian martyr, and when Tarquinian the Governor demanded of him the riches of Timotheus, the tyrant, according to the prophecy of St. Sylvester, died that night, a fish - bone sticking in his throat.

He is represented as Pope, a bull crouching at his feet. Sometimes he has as his attribute a small dragon, or portraits of SS. Peter and Paul.

Home | More Articles | Email: