This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Friday, November 11, 2011

November 11 -- Feast of Saints Victor and Stephanie

A hammock is the proper use of two palm trees, right?  Bear that in mind as you read the fate of Saint Stephanie.

Victor was arrested as a Christian in AD 160, during the reign of Antonius Pius.  He was of course sentenced to a gruesome public execution:  his fingers were cut off, his eyes were gouged out, and then he was beheaded.  Stephanie, the wife of one of the Roman soldiers, herself a Christian, was a spectator at the dismemberment and suddenly cried out to Victor that she saw two crowns of martyrdom -- one for him and the other for herself.

The account I had read does not mention the reaction of her husband, but it does say she was arrested.  It would seem to me an awkward thing: "Hey Caius!  Your wife just said she's a Christian.  Is it okay with you if we kill her?  I'd let it slide, but everybody heard it, and there will be questions, y'know?"

Of course it might also have been awkward that she was so moved by the execution of Victor.  "Hey Caius! Why's your wife freaking out so much about this guy?  She's talking about the two of them wearing crowns together.  You think they been playing Antony and Cleopatra at home while you've been at work?" 

One thing about the Romans is that they were inventive in their executions.  Well, not always -- tens of thousands were crucified and tens of thousands more were killed in the arenas, but going for the fingers and eyes before a beheading has a certain flair.  Anyway, they took their time and made a spectacle out of Stephanie's death. 

Finding two palm trees the right distance apart, they bent them each down to the ground and tied Stephanie between them.  When the ropes holding the trees down were cut, they snapped back up, ripping her in half.  Strangely, I can find no artistic renderings of this event. 

As it is Armistice Day / Veterans Day, and as Martin of Tours is a Big Dog, here's the link to last year's post.  Martin, of course, was a veteran who suffered some job discrimination in the civilian world after leaving the army.

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