06 works, Today, December 23rd, is The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete’s day, their story, illustrated #355

Unknown iconographer
The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete

I have no further description, at this time

The Ten Holy Martyrs of Crete were a group of ten Christian men from Crete who suffered martyrdom during the persecutions of emperor Decius during the third century…

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07 works, Today, December 10th, is Martyrs Menas, Hermogenes and Eugraphus’ day, his story, illustrated #343

Unknown iconographer
The Holy Martyrs Mina, Hermogenes and Evgraf

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In hagiography he is called Menas of Egypt. He was a military officer, an educated man and skilled in speech, wherefore he was surnamed Kallikelados (“most eloquent”); Eugraphus was his scribe. Both had Christian parents…

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08 works, Today, November 8th, is the Four Crowned Martyrs’ day, their story illustrated #310

Rueland Frueauf the Younger, (–1545)
The Legend of the Four Crowned Martyrs, c. 1515

Oil on panel
52.1 x 268.3 cm.
Dickinson Gallery, London and New York

The designation Four Crowned Martyrs or Four Holy Crowned Ones refers to nine individuals venerated as martyrs and saints in Early Christianity. The nine saints are divided into two groups.

According to the Golden Legend, the names of the members of the first group were not known at the time of their death “but were learned through the Lord’s revelation after many years had passed.”…

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05 works, Today, October 12th, is Probus, Tarachus, and Andronicus’ day, their story illustrated #283

Unknown artist
Martyrs Probus, Tarachus, and Andronicus

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Andronicus, Probus, and Tarachus were martyrs of the Diocletian persecution (about 304 AD). All three suffered during the reign of Diocletian. Though born in three different places, the three were found to be Christians at Pompeiopolis in Cilicia, arrested together, and brought before the Governor, Numerian Maximus. Tarachus was sixty-five years old at the time of his arrest, but his captors showed no respect for his age, tormenting him as cruelly as the others…

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07 Works, Today, June 18th, is martyr Saints Leontius, Hypatius and Theodolus’s day, their story in Paintings #169

Martyrs Leontius, Hypatius, and Theodulus at Tripoli in Syria (1)
Unknown artist
Martyrs Leontius, Hypatius, and Theodulus at Tripoli in Syria

Saints Leontius, Hypatius and Theodolus were Roman soldiers who, according to Christian tradition, were martyred for their faith.

Leontius was Greek by origin, and served as an officer of the imperial army in the Phoenician city of Tripoli during the reign of Vespasian (70–79). Leontius was distinguished for his bravery and good sense, and the people of Tripoli held him in deep respect because of his virtue…

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07 Works, Today, June 17th, is martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael’s day, their story in Paintings #168

The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael (1)
Unknown artist
The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael

The Holy Martyrs Manuel, Sabel and Ismael, brothers by birth, were descended from an illustrious Persian family. Their father was a pagan, but their mother was a Christian, who baptized the children and raised them with firm faith in Christ.

When they reached adulthood, the brothers entered military service. Speaking on behalf of the Persian emperor Shapur II. they were his emissaries in concluding a peace treaty with the emperor Julian the Apostate. Julian received them with due honor and showed them his favor. But when the brothers refused to take part in a pagan sacrifice, Julian became angry. He annulled the treaty and incarcerated the ambassadors of a foreign country like common criminals…

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04 Works, Today, March 3rd, is Holy Martyr Euthalia’s Day, With Footnotes – #61

The Holy Martyrs Eutropius and His Companions
The Holy Martyrs Eutropius and His Companions Cleonicus and Basiliscus (286-305)

The Holy Martyrs Eutropius, Cleonicus, and Basiliscus, who were from Amasia, were fellow soldiers and kinsmen of Saint Theodore the Tyro.

They were betrayed to the Governor Asclepiodotus as Christians, during the reign of Diocletian (284-305). , they were imprisoned, and were not condemned for a long time because of the courage of the imperial governor of the town of Amasea. When a new governor arrived, more inhuman than his predecessor, he ordered these three to be brought before him. All three were young men; Eutropius and Cleonicus were brothers and Basiliscus a kinsman of Theodore’s…

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02 Works, RELIGIOUS ART – Today, December 14, is St. Nicasius’ Day, With Footnotes – 147

Mattia Preti (c. 1664-65)
St. Nicasius

Oil on stone
St. John’s Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta

Saint Nicasius or Nicaise of Rheims (French: Saint-Nicaise; d. 407 or 451) was a bishop of Rheims. He founded the first cathedral in Rheims and is the patron saint of smallpox victims.

Sources placing his death in 407 credit him with prophesying the invasion of France by the Vandals. He notified his people of this vision, telling them to prepare. When asked if the people should fight or not, Nicasius responded, “Let us abide the mercy of God and pray for our enemies. I am ready to give myself for my people.” Later, when the barbarians were at the gates of the city, he decided to attempt to slow them down so that more of his people could escape. He was killed by the Vandals either at the altar of his church or in its doorway. He was killed with Jucundus, his lector, Florentius, his deacon, and Eutropia, his virgin sister.

After the killing of Nicasius and his colleagues, the Vandals are said to have been frightened away from the area, according to some sources even leaving the treasure they had already gathered. More on Saint Nicasius

Mattia Preti (24 February 1613 – 3 January 1699) was an Italian Baroque artist who worked in Italy and Malta. He was appointed a Member of the Order of Saint John.

Born in the small town of Taverna in Calabria, Preti was called Il Cavalier Calabrese after appointment as a Knight of the Order of St. John (Knights of Malta) in 1660. His early apprenticeship is said to have been with the “Caravaggist” Giovanni Battista Caracciolo, which may account for his lifelong interest in the style of Caravaggio.

Probably before 1630, Preti joined his brother Gregorio in Rome. In Rome, he painted fresco cycles. Between 1644 and 1646, he may have spent time in Venice, but remained based in Rome until 1653. 

During most of 1653–1660, he worked in Naples, where he was influenced by  Luca Giordano. One of Preti’s masterpieces were a series of large frescoes, ex-votos of the plague depicting the Virgin or saints delivering people from the plague.

Having been made a Knight of Grace in the Order of St John, he visited the order’s headquarters in Malta in 1659 and spent most of the remainder of his life there. Preti transformed the interior of St. John’s Co-Cathedral in Valletta with a huge series of paintings on the life and martyrdom of St. John the Baptist (1661–1666). 

Preti was fortunate to enjoy a long career and have a considerable artistic output. His paintings, representative of the exuberant late Baroque style, are held by many great museums. More on Mattia Preti

History of Saint Nicaise
Stained glass window of the 13th century
Church of Soissons, (Louvre Museum)

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