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Saints and Virgins: Who's who?  (6/7)

In front of certain tympanums, statues, columns, capitals or stained glass windows of   Romanesque or Gothic churches, we are sometimes unable to identify the characters represented.
However, there are simple means for recognizing them:

' Holy John the Evangelist'
Domenikos Theotocopoulos (known as El Greco )
Oil on fabric. 90 X 77 cm.
Museum of Prado, Madrid.

1: Which is his emblem?

Athe donkey
Bthe dragon
Cthe eagle

He is also represented with a cup poisoned by snakes by which they wanted to make him perish.

2: Author of the fourth Gospel, he is also the author of...?

Cthe Song of Songs

3: Who is this character who killed the dragon in the Apocalypse and expelled Satan out of  Paradise?


He usually holds a sword with his right hand  with which he killed the dragon, and in his left hand  scales (balance).

4: What does it symbolize?

AJustice and Temperance
Bthe zodiacal sign  of the Balance
Cthe Last Judgement

Raphael Sanzio (1505)
Museum of the Louvre, Paris.

Domenico Beccafumi (1521)
Oil on wood.
Pinacoteca Nazionale, His.

5: Which Christian woman of Syracuse, virgin and martyr, presents on a plate the two eyes that were torn off  her?


She refused a suitor to devote herself to God, and he, denounced her as a Christian woman. She was condemned to be raped.

6: Why  is she sometimes accompanied by an ox?

AShe was often identified with the   nymph Europa, who was abducted by Zeus metamorphosed as a bull.

BIt is an  allusion to the oxen which refused to drag her  to the brothel.

CNot being able to drag her to  the brothel, her torturers  threw her  in an arena, where bulls stampeded her to   pieces

7: Which of these apostle is famous for the incredulity which he showed at the time of the resurrection of Jesus?


Indeed, he was convinced only when Christ appeared to him for the second time, showed him the mark of the nails and made him put his finger in the wound in his side.

8: Which other element in remembering his martyrdom often forms part of the iconography of this saint?

Aa lance
Ba cauldron of boiling oil
Ca horse, because he died quartered by horses

Michel-angel Merisi (known as Caravage )
Oil on fabric. 107 X 146 cm.
Sanssouci, Potsdam.

' the martyrdom of St.Etienne'
Tiziano Vecello (known as Titien ) (about 1542)
Oil on fabric. 201 X 134 cm.
Gallery dell' Accademia, Venice.

9: Who is this John?

Athe Evangelist
Bthe Baptist
Cthe Chrysostome

He is generally represented dressed of a sheepskin, holding a long stick or a cross.
He is often close to water, because he gave the baptism to Christ on the edges of the Jordan; sometimes a dish at his feet represents the baptismal font.
A pascal lamb is usually at his feet, as well as the dove of the Holy Spirit, which came down from the sky when he baptized Jesus.

10: Who asked that his head be brought to him/ her on a plate?

CPontius Pilate

page carried out on an idea of  David Tarradas Agea


dictionary of the saints
patron saint 01
patron saint 02
patron saint 03
Michel saint
saint Jean 
saint Jean-baptiste 

Some interesting links:

jcs 7/2002