Golden Legend – Saint Stephen the Pope

illustration of Pope Saint Stephen I, date unknown, artist unknown; swiped from Santi e BeatiArticle

Here followeth the Life of Saint Stephen the Pope.

When Saint Stephen the pope had converted many of the paynims unto the christian faith, both by word and by example, and had also buried many bodies of the martyrs, in the year of our Lord two hundred and sixty he was sought by great study of Valerian and of Galien, then emperors, for because that he and his clerks should do sacrifice unto their idols or else to be slain by divers torments. And the said emperors made ordinance that whomsomever brought them, he should have all their substance, and for that cause ten of his clerks were taken and brought forth, and anon without audience were beheaded. And the day following Saint Stephen the pope was taken and brought to the temple of Mars their god, to the end that he should adore and do honour to the idol, or else he should have sentence to be beheaded. But when he was entered into the temple he prayed to our Lord Jesu Christ that he would destroy the temple. And anon a great part of the temple fell, and all they that were there fled for dread that they had. And then he went to the cemetery of Saint Luke, and when Valerian heard that he sent to him more knights than he did tofore. And when they came they found him singing mass, and anon he finished devoutly that which he had begun. And that done they beheaded him in his seat.