Christianity, for the first few centuries at least, was not popular. Butting heads with everyone from the Jews to the Romans will get you exiled, tortured, or killed in short order.
This became such a feature of Christianity in those early dark years of secret worship and hidden practices that a virtue was made of remaining serene under torture. Many early and significant Christian saints were martyred in this way.
Over time these martyrs became associated with their methods of execution, and medieval illustrators and fresco artists brought these gruesome details to the fore. This led to a strange artform where brutal cruelty is joined with serene indifference on the part of the saint: the torture could not reach them.
Here are six martyred Christians and the execution methods they became know for.
1. Saint George
2. Saint Reparta
3. Saint Bartholomew
4. Saint Lawrence of Rome
5. Saint John the Evangelist
6. Saint Cyricus
Top Image: Statue of Saint Bartholomew in the Vatican, with his skin draped around his flayed body. Source: Latente Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0.
By Joseph Green