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Martyrdom of Saint Stephen by Giovanni Andrea De Ferrari (1598-1669), undated, oil on copper – Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti

Feast of Saint Stephen

(1st. c.)

St. Stephen was one of the Church’s first deacons in Jerusalem and an eloquent preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Sacred Scripture he was “a man full of faith, and of the Holy Ghost” and “full of grace and fortitude.” The account of his martyrdom is recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. After boldly preaching against the Jewish leaders for their rejection of the promised Messiah, he was accused of blasphemy and stoned to death by an angry mob. The man who would later become St. Paul the Apostle, while he was persecuting the Church before his conversion, was among the mob as an approving witness. St. Stephen’s name comes from the Greek word meaning ‘crown,’ fitting as he was the first Christian to earn the martyr’s crown. St. Stephen’s feast day is celebrated on December 26th.
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While they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’  Then he fell to his knees and cried out in a loud voice, ‘Lord, do not hold this sin against them.’  When he had said this, he died.

cf. Acts of the Apostles 7:59-60
Jean-Baptiste de Champaigne – The Martyrdom of Saint Stephen

Follow the saints because those who follow them will become saints.”

Saint Clement I, pope
Rembrandt, “The Stoning of Saint Stephen”, 1625

Saint Stephen, Martyr, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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