Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Aleteia
Saturday 18 September |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Daudi Okelo and Bl. Jildo Irwa
home iconTravel
line break icon

Meet the Holy Martyrs, in images

SAINT AGATA

Public Domain

Athenais Clicquot - published on 02/23/18

These classic iconographic representations of the martyrs are all based on the Martyrologium Romanum.

A martyr is, in the strictest sense, a witness. In fact, the Greek word μάρτυς means precisely that. Bearing witness, in ancient times, would not necessarily lead to the death of the witness. But we can see, from the texts of more than one classical historian such as Josephus as well as from the accounts in the Acts of the Apostles, that witnesses often died because of the testimony they gave. The first saints commemorated by the Church were martyrs.

In Christian tradition, martyrdom is understood as the most perfect way to imitate Jesus, since He Himself willingly gave his life. It is no surprise, then, that Christian martyrs had been, throughout history and to this day, crucified, dismembered, burned, mutilated, and suffered many terrible torments. And it should be no surprise either that artists from all ages have turned the representation of the Holy Martyrs into one of the most popular motifs of Christian art.

Click on the first image to see the slideshow:

This article first appeared in the French edition of Aleteia.

Tags:
ArtSaints

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read Aleteia.org every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...




Top 10
1
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Pope considers what to do with pro-abortion Catholic politicians
2
communion
Philip Kosloski
How receiving Holy Communion can drive away demons
3
Berthe and Marcel
Lauriane Vofo Kana
This couple has the longest marriage in France
4
CROSS
Philip Kosloski
Why is the feast of the Holy Cross celebrated on September 14?
5
Mathilde De Robien
How a lost masterpiece of sacred art was discovered thanks to chi...
6
Kathleen N. Hattrup
On same-sex unions, Pope says Church doesn’t have power to change...
7
SAINT ANTHONY OF PADUA
Philip Kosloski
This prayer to St. Anthony is said to have “never been known to f...
See More
Newsletter
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.