Glossary beginning with S
Religious figures such as Saints and Bishops that may appear in stained glass, sculpture, and etc. Also terms with an Ecclesiastical meaning.
- Salvator Mundisearch for term
In Christian iconography the Salvator Mundi is a depiction of Christ as Saviour of the World. Usually shown with an orb symbolising the world in his left hand and the right hand raised in a blessing.
- Seraphimsearch for term
A class of celestial beings in Judaism and Christianity. The name is derived from the Hebrew verb saraph (`to consume with fire'). They are described by Issiah as having human attributes and:
Upon it stood the seraphims: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they flew. And they cried one to another, and said: Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God of hosts, all the earth is full of his glory, and the lintels of the doors were moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke.
- St Agnessearch for term
St. Agnes of Rome was one of the virgin martyrs of Rome, and highly venerated from the mid 4th century AD. Born a member of the Roman nobility she became a martyr at the age of twelve or thirteen during the reign of the Roman Emperor Diocletian.
She is shown in art as a long-haired girl either with a lamb, or with a dove with a ring in its beak.Synonyms: St. Agnes
- St Alban search for term
Saint Alban (c304) was the first British Christian martyr. he was a pagan who sheltered a Christian priest from persecution, and subsequently converted to Christianity. He then dressed in the priests clothes and gave himself up in the place of the priest. He has executed on a hill above the Roman settlement of Verulamium (present day St Albans).Synonyms: St Albans, St. Alban, St. Albans
- St Andrewsearch for term
The patron saint of Scotland. A fisherman, his parents were Jona and Joanna, and his brother was Simon (Peter). As a disciple of John the Baptist, he and St John the Evangelist met Jesus, and became Jesus first disciple. He later introduced his brother to Jesus too. Andrew is mentioned is a number of times in the Gospels, and it was Andrew that brought the boy with the loaves and fishes to Jesus at Bethsaida.
He was crucified at Patrae in Achaia. Where he was bound, not nailed, to the cross. From the 14th century the story arose that the cross was X shaped, as it was said that like his brother he felt himself unworthy to be crucified on the upright cross of Christ.
Symbols in art are a net, fish, and/or a man being crucified on an X shaped cross.Synonyms: Andrew the Apostle, St. Andrew
- St Annesearch for term
According to Christian and Islamic tradition the mother of the Virgin Mary and grandmother of Jesus Christ.
In art she is a middle aged woman teaching the Virgin Mary to read, or her betrothal to Joachim.Synonyms: St. Anne
- St Barnabassearch for term
Although not one of the original twelve disciples of Jesus, Barnabas is frequently mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles and is considered, due to his preaching abilities to be one of them. Barnabas stood surety for St John with the other apostles after Paul's (Saul) conversion on the road to Damascus.
- St Benedictsearch for term
Noted founder of western monasticism. St Benedict (c480-543) was the son of a Roman noble of Nursia and grew up in Rome. He spent three years of his life living as a hermit in cave near Enfide.
The Rule of Saint Benedict consists of 73 short chapters that lay out a set of rules for the domestic life of a community, such as monks, that wished to live as fully as possible the type of life presented in the Gospel, previously those seeking spiritual perfection did so as hermits.Synonyms: Benedictine, St Benedict of Nursia, St. Benedict
- St Catherinesearch for term
The legend of St Catherine is that she attempted to persuade the the Emperor Maximinus, not to persecute Christians. and that she managed to convert the Emperor's wife and many others all of whom were martyred. Catherine was condemned to die on the wheel, but at her touch it was destroyed. Maximinus then had her beheaded and angels carried her body to Mount Sinai.
She is considered along with St. Margaret and St. Barbara one of the fourteen most helpful saints in heaven. Joan of Arc said that Catherine appeared to her many times, and had been appointed one of Joan's adviser, along with St. Margaret,
Shown strapped to or standing next to the spiked wheel on which she was martyred. Also shown holding a book, or carrying a sword and/or the palm of martyrdom. Occasionally seen debating with pagansSynonyms: St. Catherine
- St Dominicsearch for term
St Dominic (1170 - 1221) was the founder of the Dominican Order. He was born in Caleruega and educated in what was to become the University of Palencia, where he studied the arts and theology. In 1203 whilst on a mission to obtain a Danish bride for the King of Castile, Alfonso VIII, he travelled through southern France where he met and debated the Cathars. In 1204 he was sent back to the Languedoc on a mission to convert the Cathars, by Pope Innocent III, who at that time was trying to pacify and convert the Cathars. Dominic concluded that because of their pomp, expensive retinue, and ostentatious and indulgent style of living, the Cistercians there were ill suited to the the task of converting the ascetic Cathars. He persuaded the Cistercians to adopt a more austere manner of life, and debated with the Cathars until 1208.
In 1208 following the assassination of the papal legate Pierre de Castelnau, he rebuked the remaining legates who was returning to Rome with `It is not by the display of power and pomp, cavalcades of retainers, and richly-houseled palfreys, or by gorgeous apparel, that the heretics win proselytes; it is by zealous preaching, by apostolic humility, by austerity, by seeming, it is true, but by seeming holiness. Zeal must be met by zeal, humility by humility, false sanctity by real sanctity, preaching falsehood by preaching truth.' Innocent III issued a bull declaring a crusade against Languedoc and offering the land of the heretics to any who would fight. The Albigensian Crusade lasted from 1209-1229, during which it is estimated to have killed 1 million people in Southern France. The Inquisition and the the Dominican Order were also founded during this period.
Dominic is said to have founded the Inquisition and was appointed the first inquisitor-general by Innocent III. Later historians have pointed out that there was some form of an Inquisition several years before his appointment, and that he was mainly a theologian passing judgement upon the orthodoxy of the accused.
In 1215, Dominic along with six followers established a monastery where they subjected themselves to rules of prayer and penance. They were given leave to preach throughout the area of Toulouse, and established an order of Preaching Friars. In 1217 pope Honorius III granted them authority to establish order to be named `The Order of Preachers' which became known as the Dominican Order.
- St Elizabethsearch for term
The mother of John the Baptist and the wife of St. Zachary.Synonyms: St. Elizabeth
- St Elizabeth of Hungarysearch for term
Daughter of King Andrew II of Hungary, Elizabeth was born in 1207, and in 1221, at the age of 14 was married to the 21 year old Ludwig IV of Thuringia. Ludwig died of a fever in 1227, and Elizabeth spent the rest of her life giving money to the poor and building hospitals. She died in 1231 aged 24 in Marburg. After her death miracles of healing were reported at her grave. She was canonized by Pope Gregory IX four years later in 1235.
- St Etheldredasearch for term
Etheldreda (636-679). Abbess of Ely from 673. She was the third of King Anna's five daughters, Saethrith, Sexburga, Etheldreda, Withburga and Ethelburga. In 652 she was married to Tonbert, a Fenland prince. As a dowry Tonbert gave her the land around Ely, and allowed her to live as a nun for the three years they were married.
In 660 she married Egfrith, the fourteen year old son of Oswiu, King of Northumbria. Egfrith, by some accounts having agreed that she could remain a virgin after 12 years wanted to consummate the marriage, and asked St Wilfred to intercede on his behalf with Etheldreda. St Wilfred however encouraged Etheldreda to remain celibate and she fled Coldingham and a year later was back to Ely where she founded the monastery that was later destroyed in the Danish invasion of 870. She died of plague in 679.Synonyms: St. Etheldreda
- St Gilessearch for term
A 7th century hermit from Athens who travelled to the Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon areas of France to escape from his noble birth and reputation for sanctity in his homeland. He first made is home near the mouth of the Rhone and later by the River Gard. However, his reputation for sanctity drew large crowds, and he eventually moved into the forest near Nîmes, where he lived for many years in solitude his companion being a hind which is supposed to have provided him with milk. He was eventually discovered by King Flavius' hunters who shooting at the hind missed and wounded him in the leg.
In art the symbols associated with him are a hind, crosier, and/or arrow.Synonyms: St. Giles
- St James the Greatersearch for term
The brother of St John the Evangelist. James was one of the three apostles that Jesus selected to bear witness to his Transfiguration. He was beheaded by Herod Agrippa in 44AD.
In art represented as a dark bearded man holding a book, wallet, or sword. On horseback trampling a moor, or a man surrounded by shells.
- St Johnsearch for term
Brother of St James the Greater, a disciple of John the Baptist, and friend of St Peter. He went everywhere with Jesus and was the only one of the disciples that was with him at the Crucifixion. Called by Jesus the beloved disciple. He was the first of the disciples to reach the tomb on hearing of the resurrection and was the first to recognise him at lake of Tiberias.
In art represented as a man with an eagle, book, or serpent.Synonyms: John the Apostle, St. John
- St John of the Crosssearch for term
St John of the Cross (1542-1591) was a Spanish mystic and Carmelite friar, who along with St Teresa of Ávila is consider the founder of the mendicant order known as the Barefoot Carmelites.
- St John the Evangelistsearch for term
Perhaps St John the disciple and apostle, and perhaps the St John of Revelations. However, the Christian tradition is that they are one and the same person, and that St John was the only one to live to an old age.
- St Michaelsearch for term
The archangel St. Michael, is the principal angel and field commander of the Army of God. His name is the war-cry of the good angels in the battle fought in heaven against Satan and his followers. He is often depicted triumphant over the enemy.Synonyms: Archangel St Michael, St. Michael
- St Paulsearch for term
St. Paul converted from Judaism to Christianity on the road to Damascus. He then travelled around the Meditarianian spreading the word of Jesus. He wrote some of the earliest works on Christianity and is credited with 13 of the 27 books of the New Testament.
Before his conversion he was a zealot persecuting a small Messianic Jewish sect. He was one of those that encouraged a mob to stone to death St Stephen and later organized the arrest of Stephen's friends.
He went on three missionary journeys the first took him to Cypress, then Pamphylia, Pisidia, and Lycaonia where he esatablished a number of churches. The second journey took him back to revisit the churches he had previously established and then on to Galatia, Macedonia, Philippi. Thessalonica, Beroea, Athens,
and Corinth. His third journey retraced his steps with the intention of visiting Rome.
Accused of having brought Gentiles into the Temple he was arrested in Jerusalem and transfered to Caesarea where he spent two years in prison before being sent to Rome for trail. His journey to was interupted when the ship taking him was wrecked on the coast of Malta where he spent 3 months.
After a further 2 years imprisoned in Rome he appears to have been acquited in and then travelled to Spain, to the Asia Minor again again, and finally back to Rome. In Rome he was arrested and imprisoned for a second time. He was beheaded in Rome in either 64AD or 67AD.
In art represented as a man with receding hair and long beard, he is usually holding a book and sword, and sometimes near three springs of water,Synonyms: Paul the Apostle, St. Paul
- St Petersearch for term
Peter (Simon) was fisherman who owned a boat, and the brother of St Andrew. He was the first disciple of Jesus, and according to the Gospel's of Mark and Matthew he and his brother Andrew were called by Jesus to be `fishers of men'. He is always mentioned first amongst the disciples, and along with St John, and St James the Greater he was present at events that were not witnessed by others.
Although names Simon his nickname was Petros (Greek Rock): `And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven'.
During Jesus arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Peter is said to have cut off the ear of the High Priest's servant . It was foretold by Jesus that Peter would deny him 3 times before ther cock crows. The fragmentary gospel attributed to him, has an account of the death of Jesus that differs from that of Gospels.
Peter was an early leader of the Christian church and he is frequently mentioned in the first half of the Acts of the Apostles. However, the later part of Acts deals mainly with the activities of St Paul.
Tradition says that he was crucified head down in Rome at the time of Nero's fire, and that the site of his burial is where the basilica of St Peter was built.
- St Philipsearch for term
Like Peter and Andrew, Philip was living in Bethsaida and was also a Disciple of John the Baptist. He answered Jesus' call (Follow me), he later introduced Nathaniel (Bartholomew) to the group. He is usually listed as the fifth Apostle after Peter, Andrew, James, and John. He died of natural causes and was buried at Hieropolis but later his remains were moved to Constantinople, and afterwards to the church of the Dodici Apostoli in Rome.
Legend tells that he was Crucified upside down on a tall cross.
In art he is depicted with a tall cross, a net, or loaves and fishes.Synonyms: Philip the Apostle, St. Philip
- St Romainsearch for term
Saint Romain (or Romanus) is the patron Saint of Rouen, he was the Bishop of Rouen from 631-640. According to legend his parents were infertile and the father was visited by an angel one night announcing that the wife Felicity was pregnant, after which Romain was born. He grew up in the court of King Clotaire II and when the Bishop of Rouen, Hidulphus, died he was elected as the cities bishop by the canons.
- St Thomas Becketsearch for term
Thomas Becket (1118 – 1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170. He had been in dispute with Henry Henry II of England where he opposed Henry's attempts to bring the church within the jurisdiction of the King's courts, insisting that the ecclesiastic courts had the right to try the clergy (see The Constitutions of Clarendon) as a result he went into exile to France in 1164 .
In 1170 he returned to England and in the summer excommunicated the Bishops of London, Salisbury, and York, who had performed the coronation of Henry the Young King in York when it was Canterbury's privilege to do so. Further excommunications followed and after a remark by Henry in Normandy four Knights travelled to England and killed him in Canterbury Cathedral. Becket was canonized in 1173 by Pope Alexander III, and Henry paid a public penance at Becket's tomb in 1174.Synonyms: St Thomas à Becket, Thomas à Becket, Thomas Becket
- St Veronicasearch for term
The legend is that on his way to Calvary a woman named Veronica gave Jesus a cloth which when he wiped his face on it was imprinted with his image.Synonyms: St. Veronica