|Saint Stephen, Protomartyr
St. Stephen's story is told in Acts 6:1-8:2 (cached). Ordained among the first deacons, he became an impassioned advocate of the new faith, for which he was executed by stoning. Just before the execution St. Stephen looked up to Heaven and saw "the Son of man standing on the right hand of God." Meanwhile, the coats of those participating in the stoning were held by Saul, who upon his later conversion would become the apostle Paul. The story is repeated in the Golden Legend's entry for St. Stephen's feast, along with the assertion that the saint was buried by Gamaliel, the member of the Sanhedrin who had spoken up for the Christians in Acts 5:34-39 (cached).
The Legend also has an entry for August 3, the Invention of St. Stephen, which tells of the translation of his body first to Constantinople and then to Rome, where at last it came to rest beside that of St. Lawrence.
The image at left is a typical portrait of St. Stephen. His primary attribute is a stone or stones, sometimes rather improbably positioned on his head. Beardless, he wears a dalmatic and holds a book.
Perhaps the best known series of narrative images of St. Stephen is the suite of tapestries in the Cluny in Paris, which includes both the episodes from Acts and a number of others from the hagiography.
Another notable series is Carpaccio's cycle:
Stephen's Consecration as Deacon
His Disputation Before the Sanhedrin
The Stoning of Stephen
Feast day: December 26 (martyrdom) and August 3 (invention)
At left, Giotto's "St. Stephen"
5th century fresco
Daddi,"The Martyrdom of St. Stephen"
Spanish relief of the stoning
Leinberger, "St. Stephen"
Ciampelli's fresco of the stoning
Golden Legend #8 (Life of St. Stephen): html or pdf
Golden Legend #112 (Invention of St. Stephen): html or pdf
Gregory of Nyssa, Homilies on St. Stephen (cached)