Saint Stephen is traditionally venerated as the protomartyr, the first martyr of Christianity, and December 26th is his feast day.
Stephen, who was a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem, was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death (c. 34). His death was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, a Jew who would later convert to Christianity, changing his name to Paul.
There is a small bas-relief of the saint, with two stones perched on his head, on the house opposite the church of Santo Stefano. The building once belonged to the Scuola di Santo Stefano, which commissioned the Venetian artist Vittore Carpaccio (1465-1520) to make five paintings (1511-20), illustrating scenes from the life of St Stephen. Sadly, the paintings are now scattered between various Italian and foreign collections.
Unsurprisingly, Saint Stephen's main attribute are stones, which, in images of him, are placed on or near his head. He is the saint to whom people suffering from headaches appeal for succour.
Blogging about Venice:
its art, history & culture.
My name is David Lown and I am an art historian from Cambridge, England.
Since 200I I have been living in Italy, where I run private tours of Florence, Rome &