Period: 18th century
Size: 36 x 31 cm
The Forty Martyrs of Sebaste were soldiers in the Legio XII Fulminata at the time of the Christian persecution under Tetrarch Valerius Licinius in the first quarter of the fourth century. They were sentenced to stand in a frozen lake near Sebaste so that they would die from the freezing cold. One of the forty couldn’t stand it. He renounced his faith, got out of the water and hurried to a warm bath in an adjacent building. One of the guards, who had been keeping watch on the side of the lake until then, also declared himself a Christian, took off his clothes and jumped into the lake. Thus the forty were complete again. To everyone’s surprise, even after a night in the cold lake, the forty had still not succumbed. The men were therefore burned at the stake and their ashes were scattered in a river. Christians collected the ashes from the water and these relics were housed in various places.