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The Shepherd's Guild

St. Stephen the Protomartyr


St. Stephen the Protomartyr and Archdeacon

Acts 7:55-60 (King James Version) --

The Stoning of St. Stephen

 55But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,

 56And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.

 57Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord,

 58And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.

 59And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.

 60And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.

St. Stephen is commemorated on December the 27th
Stephen was appointed by the apostles to be one of the seven deacons of the Jerusalem. These men were ordained as deacons to supervise the daily distribution of welfare to the widows the Church cared for. The widows were all Hellenistic Jews (as it was, the Hellenistic Jewish widows were being overlooked in the distribution). Stephen argued and reasoned with fellow Jews the was Jesus was the fulfiiment of Judaism with its law and temple. In his diaconal ministry ne also prayed for the suffering and did great wonders and signs of healing. His popularity grew so much that he attracted persecution from the official Jewish Sanhedrin Court. Stephen was arrested and brought fefore them on the charge of blaspheming against his ancestral religion. He ably defended himself at his trial, showing that the law and temple were never essential to God's people and were absent during much of their salvation history. He also ruked them for their hardness of heart, saying they now resisted God even as their forefathers did. The council was furious at him. In his final hour, Stephen looked up and had a vision of Christ standing at the right hand of God. He cried out to them of what he saw of Jesus' glory as Messiah and they madly rushed on him to stone him. As he was stoned by the mob, he cried out, "Lord Jesus, hold not this sin against them!" He was the first to be martyred for the Lord and to inherit the crown. (C)
source: "A Daily Calendar of Saints" by Rev. Lawrence R. Farley
(C)  Saint Stephen (Koine Greek: Στέφανος, Stephanos), the protomartyr (first martyr) of Christianity.

Saint Stephen's name is derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown". Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.

source: Wikipedia

St. Stephen