Saint Stephen the Martyr

Images of Saint Stephen, such as above, often show him holding stones or a book.  He stood confident of his independent view, unafraid to voice opposition to authorities, leading to his being condemned for blasphemy and to his being stoned to death.  Imagine how painful each stone must have felt before the fatal blow set him free–  bones, muscles, blood vessels and nerves being broken methodically.  Before dying, he forgave his killers.  The name, from Greek, refers to “crown of martyrdom.”

Detail from: “The Martyrdom of Stephen” – Pieter Pauwel Rubens (1616-17)

[Stoning] is a community action in which each member takes part, thus sharing the judgment and the punishment, and in which no single person strikes the fatal blow.”

–McKenzie, S.J., John L.  Dictionary of the Bible.  New York: Macmillan, 1965.  p 847.

“The Stoning of Stephen” – Rembrandt (1625)

“… they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. … and with a loud shout all rushed together against him.  Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; … he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’  When he had said this, he died.”

ACTS 7:54-60.  New Revised Standard Version.

“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re trying to be so good / They’ll stone ya just a-like they said they would / They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to go home / Then they’ll stone ya when you’re there all alone / But I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ ‘long the street / They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to keep your seat / They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ on the floor / They’ll stone ya when you’re walkin’ to the door / But I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

They’ll stone ya when you’re at the breakfast table / They’ll stone ya when you are young and able / They’ll stone ya when you’re tryin’ to make a buck / They’ll stone ya and then they’ll say, “good luck” / Tell ya what, I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the end / Then they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back again / They’ll stone you when you’re riding in your car / They’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitar / Yes, but I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all alone / They’ll stone you when you are walking home / They’ll stone you and then say you are brave / They’ll stone you when you are set down in your grave / But I would not feel so all alone / Everybody must get stoned

–Dylan, Bob.  “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.”  1966.  Lyrics:  1962-2001.  New York:  Simon & Schuster, 2004.  p 191.

“Charlize Theron Takes A Stroll In The Rain” –complex.com

from The Muse as Medusa 
by May Sarton 

FIRST STANZA
I saw you once, Medusa; we were alone. 
I looked you straight in the cold eye, cold. 
I was not punished, was not turned to stone – 
How to believe the legends I am told?… 

SEVENTH STANZA
I turn your face around! It is my face. 
That frozen rage is what I must explore – 
Oh secret, self-enclosed, and ravaged place! 
This is the gift I thank Medusa for. 

copyright 1978 from Invocations and Mythologies 
in Collected Poems of May Sarton

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