The 8 Most Brutal Deaths of Saints

St. Patrick's Day is an excuse for Americans to party (read: get drunk), wear green clothes and eat all kinds of green food that any other time of year would look rotten. The Patron Saint of Ireland for which the holiday is named after was actually the son of two Romans living in Britain. He dedicated his life to converting the Irish from polytheism to Christianity, using the shamrock to explain the Trinity. Unlike most saints, St. Patrick was actually celebrated for his piety during his lifetime. He died peacefully of old age and received a proper burial at the time. Not everyone was that lucky.

What Saints died horrible deaths? Here are all the saints who died horrible, horrible deaths.

  • 1

    St. Valentine - Beaten with Clubs and Stones, Beheaded

    St. Valentine - Beaten with Clubs and Stones, Beheaded
    Photo: uploaded by Ivana Wynn

    February's romantic holiday is not really based on love at all.

    St. Valentine was a Christian priest in Rome during the third century who married couples and aided persecuted Christians in finding love, cause he was a badass and getting married at some point was a rebellious thing to do. And he didn't even dress up as Elvis.

    But for these ceremonies and his cause, he was imprisoned by the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who took a liking to him until Valentine tried to convert him to Christianity -- which is always when conversations go South, isn't it?

    Anyway, he was beaten with clubs and stones.

    But when he wouldn't renounce the faith in his Christian God, he was beheaded on February 14 around 270 A.D.
  • 2

    St. Cecilia - A Botched Beheading

    St. Cecilia - A Botched Beheading
    Photo: uploaded by Ivana Wynn

    This is brutal.

    Chaucer's Second Nun immortalizes this saint's story in The Canterbury Tales.

    So, this Christian virgin who lived in Rome married a pagan, a guy named Valerian, but on their wedding night she told him that an angel watched over her chastity and basically that if Valerian wanted to get any, he would have to be baptized.

    Lots of guys have done a lot more for a lot less.

    So, he agreed and when he came back from his baptism, he saw an angel next to Cecilia, who laid a crown on each of their heads, honoring their union (aka, they wanted to get down.)

    Valerian later convinced his brother Tibertius to be baptized as well and the two brothers dedicated themselves to burying Christian martyrs executed by the prefect of the city, Turcius.

    The two brothers were killed by sword, because baptism is evil.

    Cecilia, who had been gathering followers (real ones, not like on Twitter), was shut inside the baths, which were lit on fire. Again, they trapped her in a bathroom and set it on fire. But somehow, this didn't do the trick.

    So, Turcius' men next attempted to behead her. But this isn't the movies, so it took a few whacks. Three whacks to be exact, but her head wouldn't come off.

    Unfortunately for all parties involved, she lived three days longer, bleeding out.

    Her followers collected her blood with napkins, instead of killing her like any decent person would, and then probably tried to sell her blood for some extra cash.

    They later turned her home into a church, in her name of course.
  • 3

    St. Edmund - Tied to a Tree, Arrowed

    St. Edmund - Tied to a Tree, Arrowed
    Photo: uploaded by Ivana Wynn

    Edmund was the king of an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, East Anglia, when it was attacked in the 9th century by Danish Viking Lord Ivar the Boneless.

    Yes, the world is a worse place today because people have don't have names like this anymore.

    Anyway, the Danish Viking Lord Ivar the Boneless came to wreak some havoc on our buddy St. Edmund. Refusing to give up his faith in Christ (as this would allow his kingdom be a pawn of the heathens), Edmund didn't put up a fight.

    So, The Vikings beat him and strapped him to a tree before continuously pelting him with arrows as he called out to Christ for help. Nobody was home.

    Infuriated by his resolute faith, they chopped off his head and threw it into the woods.

    Edmund's people went in search of his head, calling out "€œWhere are you friend?"€ and expecting it to somehow respond, which makes sense. According to the story, the head actually did respond, shouting out, "Here!" (in an ancient tongue, of course, where it probably sounded a bit more like "polo")

    So when they did find the head, they found it in a hungry wolf's paws, uneaten.

    Edmund'€™s followers believed the wolf had been sent by Christ to protect it, instead of by its stomach to almost eat it.

    The king was given a proper burial and his wounds miraculously healed, his head reattached to his body and his skin did not decay even after years of his burial.

    What I want to know is who the sick bitched is who opened the coffin to find that out?
  • 4

    Sts. Perpetua and Felicity - Thrown to the Cows After Giving Birth

    Sts. Perpetua and Felicity - Thrown to the Cows After Giving Birth
    Photo: uploaded by Ivana Wynn

    In one of the earliest pieces of writing by a Christian woman, Perpetua narrated her account of her martyrdom in 203. It wasn't very funny. The twenty-two year old had been raised by a wealthy Pagan father and was married with a son. Perpetua accomplished quite a bit for a woman at that age, actually.

    So, against her father'€™s will, she converted to Christianity, even knowing her decision would lead to her death. So, she was separated from her child and imprisoned in an overcrowded and dark prison -- which goes to show that when acting out rebellion as a young woman, you should probably pick your battles.

    Perpetua'™s slave Felicity, who was eight months pregnant (who she just had to have because if everyone else at school had a slave, she had to have one too) was also held captive.

    There's nothing more useful than a pregnant slave.

    Roman law forbade the execution of pregnant women, because c'€™mon, they weren'€™t monsters -- they would plan it so that she would be executed the day after giving birth.

    On the day of the execution, the women were thrown naked into an arena with a wild cow -- and yes, a wild cow is the best they could do at the time.

    The crowd feasted in honor of Caesar'€™s birthday because executions are just the perfect occasion for a family picnic

    The jeering and up-until-now-unsympathetic crowd took pity on the two women because they saw that that one of them had just given birth. And in an act that epitomizes human compassion, the crowd decided to let them be clothed and to just have their throats cut instead. Why the crowd weren'€™t also made Saints is an absolute mystery.