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August 17, 2022

Saint Stephen celebrated on third day of Christmas

Orthodox Christians celebrated yesterday Holy Apostle, First Christian Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen, one of the seven deacons – from among Hellenistic Jews – chosen by Jerusalem Apostles to preach at Church gatherings in the first century A.D, so that the Apostles would devote themselves to spreading the Word of God. Thanks to his gift and wisdom and the signs and wonders accompanying his preaching, he stirred the wrath of Jews who put him on trial before the Synedrium, accusing him of blasphemy against the Law and Moses. Stephen however found proof in the Scripture that the Old Law was fulfilled through Christ who was the Savior awaited and foretold by Prophets, at the same time reprimanding them for being hard-hearted and lacking faith. ‘And Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit and looking at the sky, saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at God’s right,’ the scripture writes. And he said: I see the open skies and the Son of Man standing at God’s right. Sentenced to death, Stephen was taken out of the fortress and stoned to death according to the Jewish custom, thus becoming the First Christian Martyr and confessor of his faith in God. Christian tradition, under Legenda Aurea of the 13th century, writes that Stephen’s relics were found by one Father Lucian, who buried them in Jerusalem’s Church of Syon in 417 A.D. They were then taken to Constantinople by a senator’s wife to cure Emperor Teodosie’s daughter, Eudoxia, who was possessed by evil spirits. Teodosie suggested that Stephen’s relics should be taken to Rome, where they were laid to rest in the San Lorenzo Church in 425 A.D.

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