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Dec. 26 - Saint Stephen, First Martyr
36 A.D. | Saint of the day

Posted on 12/26/2004 6:18:53 AM PST by Stubborn

The name Stephen means “crown”, and this is appropriate when you think of the saints because the first martyr of the Catholic Faith – the protomartyr as he is called – was named Stephen. Saint Stephen was stoned to death by the Jews in the year 36. Saint Paul was present at this martyrdom, and it was a grace, which in no small way caused his conversion. Saint Stephen’s full story takes up two chapters in the Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 6 and 7. Saint Stephen was one of the first seven deacons. Saint Stephen’s name is mentioned in the Roman Canon of the Mass. He is the first martyr mentioned in the litany of Saints. He is buried in Rome, beside Saint Laurence, and greatly venerated there. Saint Stephen’s greatest honor is that his feast is the day after the birth of Our Lord.

TOPICS: Catholic

1 posted on 12/26/2004 6:18:53 AM PST by Stubborn
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To: AskStPhilomena; Land of the Irish; Convert from ECUSA; Salvation; Rosary; Maximilian; narses; ...

My patron saint feast day - ping!

2 posted on 12/26/2004 6:20:41 AM PST by Stubborn (It Is The Mass That Matters)
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To: Stubborn

A Blessed feast to you, Stubborn. In the Orthodox Church, today is the Feast of the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos. Here is the Apolytikion for today, chanted in the fourth tone:

""By holding as infant, in your arms O pure one, the ruler of everything who was incarnated from you, you were seen as the cause of joy; wherefore all creation, sings with exceeding joy, your awesome child-birth, O Theotokos today; for you carried in your womb, the fount of salvation."

3 posted on 12/26/2004 6:45:33 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: Kolokotronis

Beautiful! Thanks Kolokotronis!

4 posted on 12/26/2004 6:48:17 AM PST by Stubborn (It Is The Mass That Matters)
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To: Stubborn

Happy feast day; same as my daughter's and her birthday as well.

5 posted on 12/26/2004 7:52:12 AM PST by pascendi (Quicumque vult salvus esse, ante omnia opus est, ut teneat catholicam fidem)
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To: Stubborn

Happy Feast day to you , Happy Feast Day! And may the very first martyr keep you and protect you forever! St. Stephen pray for us all !

6 posted on 12/26/2004 8:05:09 AM PST by Rosary (Pray the Rosary daily)
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To: Stubborn


The Feast of the Holy Family is held on the first Sunday after
Christmas. This feast reminds us that Jesus was not self-sufficient
once he was born into the world. He was taught by both his mother
and father and, judging by the lack of mention in the Gospels, had a
rather ordinary childhood and adolescence.

Today's feast holds up the Holy Family as a model for all families,
and makes us take special recognition of the importance of the
family on the life of each person. When we examine the mystery of
the Holy Family and the tight bonds that must have existed within it,
we can recognize the need that all people have for good
relationships and how these relationships help give us strength
throughout our lives.


For the LORD sets a father in honor over his children; a mother's
authority he confirms over her sons. He who honors his father atones
for sins; he stores up riches who reveres his mother. He who honors
his father is gladdened by children, and when he prays he is heard.
He who reveres his father will live a long life; he obeys the LORD
who brings comfort to his mother. -Sirach 3:2-6


268 Pope St Dionysius dies
418 Pope St Zosimus dies
795 Pope St Leo III begins his reign


The twenty-sixth of December is celebrated as the feast of St. Stephen the
first martyr of the Church. This feast is superceded this year by the Sunday


Please pray for a strengthening of all families.

7 posted on 12/26/2004 8:46:37 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Stubborn

I forgot to mention that St. Stephen's feast day in the Orthodox Church is tomorrow. Here is the kontakion, Plagal in the 4th tone for the Divine Liturgy tomorrow:

""Thou wast the first to be sown upon earth by the Heavenly Husbandman, O all-famed Stephen; thou wast the first to shed thy blood upon the earth for Christ, O blessed one; thou wast the first to be honoured by Him with the crown of victory in Heaven, as the spearhead of the athletes, O first crowned champion of the Martyrs."

8 posted on 12/26/2004 9:56:47 AM PST by Kolokotronis (Nuke the Cube!)
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To: Stubborn

For more on the day see

Lutheran (ELCA) lessons for the Feast of Stephen:

• 2 Chronicles 24:17-22
After the death of Jehoiada, the officials of Judah came and did obeissance to the king; then the king listened to them. 18They abandoned the house of the LORD, the God of their ancestors, and served the sacred poles and the idols. And wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this guilt of theirs. 19Yet God sent prophets among them to bring them back to the LORD; they testified against them, but they would not listen.
20Then the spirit of God took possession of Zechariah son of the priest Jehoiada; he stood above the people and said to them, “Thus says God: Why do you transgress the commandments of the LORD, so that you cannot prosper? Because you have forsaken the LORD, he has also forsaken you.” 21But they conspired against Zechariah and by command of the king they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the LORD. 22King Joash did not remember the kindness that Jehoiada, Zechariah’s father, had shown him, but killed his son. As he was dying, he said, “May the LORD see and avenge!”

PSALM 17:1-9, 16

• Acts 6:8-7:2a, 51-60
Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. 9Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and others of those from Cilicia and Asia, stood up and argued with Stephen. 10But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. 11Then they secretly instigated some men to say, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” 12They stirred up the people as well as the elders and the scribes; then they suddenly confronted him, seized him, and brought him before the council. 13They set up false witnesses who said, “This man never stops saying things against this holy place and the law; 14for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and will change the customs that Moses handed on to us.” 15And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his face was like the face of an angel.
1Then the high priest asked him, “Are these things so?”And Stephen replied:...
51”You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you are forever opposing the Holy Spirit, just as your ancestors used to do. 52Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute? They killed those who foretold the coming of the Righteous One, and now you have become his betrayers and murderers. 53You are the ones that received the law as ordained by angels, and yet you have not kept it.”
54When they heard these things, they became enraged and ground their teeth at Stephen. 55But filled with the Holy Spirit, he gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56“Look,” he said, “I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” 57But they covered their ears, and with a loud shout all rushed together against him. 58Then they dragged him out of the city and began to stone him; and the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60Then he knelt down and cried out in a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he died.

• Matthew 23:34-49
“Therefore I send you prophets, sages, and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, 35so that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of the righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar. 36Truly I tell you, all this will come upon this generation.
37“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38See, your house is left to you, desolate. 39For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

9 posted on 12/26/2004 1:00:12 PM PST by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: Stubborn

Bump, thanks for the ping, and much affection here for the honorable St. Stephen.

10 posted on 12/27/2004 5:07:43 PM PST by AlbionGirl
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To: Stubborn
American Catholic’s Saint of the Day

December 26, 2006
St. Stephen
(d. 36 A.D.?)

All we know of Stephen is found in Acts of the Apostles, chapters six and seven. It is enough to tell us what kind of man he was:

At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenist (Greek-speaking) Christians complained about the Hebrew-speaking Christians, saying that their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit.... (Acts 6:1-5)

Acts says that Stephen was a man filled with grace and power, who worked great wonders among the people. Certain Jews, members of the Synagogue of Roman Freedmen, debated with Stephen but proved no match for the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. They persuaded others to make the charge of blasphemy against him. He was seized and carried before the Sanhedrin.

In his speech, Stephen recalled God’s guidance through Israel’s history, as well as Israel’s idolatry and disobedience. He then claimed that his persecutors were showing this same spirit. “[Y]ou always oppose the holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestors” (Acts 7:51b).

His speech brought anger from the crowd. “But [Stephen], filled with the holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God....’ They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him....As they were stoning Stephen, he called out, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit....Lord, do not hold this sin against them’” (Acts 7:55-56, 58a, 59, 60b).


Stephen died as Jesus did: falsely accused, brought to unjust condemnation because he spoke the truth fearlessly. He died with his eyes trustfully fixed on God, and with a prayer of forgiveness on his lips. A “happy” death is one that finds us in the same spirit, whether our dying is as quiet as Joseph’s or as violent as Stephen’s: dying with courage, total trust and forgiving love.

11 posted on 12/26/2006 7:20:10 AM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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