On this Second Day of Christmastide, the Christian world in the west celebrates its first martyr, Saint Stephen.
|St. Stephen detail, Demidoff Altarpiece Carlo Crevelli, 1476|
|Stoning of St. Stephen Paolo Ocello, ca. 1435|
His death in the name of charity has led this day to be associated with the distribution of food and other essentials to those in need. A thousand years later stories about the life and death of another generous Christian, Wenceslas of Czechoslovakia, would eventually lead to the writing of a mid-19th century Christmas carol that forever links the two martyrs.
Photos and Illustrations:
Demidoff Altarpiece, The National Gallery, London
Stoning, wikimedia.org, painting is in the Duomo di Prato. Italy