St. Stephen's Day

The first Christian martyr, Archdeacon Stefan (St. Stephen) , was one of the Seven Apostles, chosen by the Apostle Peter to help the poor and preaching Christianity. He was martyred (Stephen stoned) about 35 year of a new era. It is known that one of his tormentors was Saul — who later became the apostle Paul, a beacon and a pillar of Christianity.

FirstMartyr Stephen was a Christian and suffered for Christ at the age of about 30 years. In the words of Asteria, it was "the first fruits of the martyrs, a teacher at the suffering of Christ, the foundation of a good profession for before Stephen nobody poured out his blood for the Gospel."

Being filled with the Holy Spirit, St. Stephen boldly preached convincingly defeated Christian teaching and Jewish rabbis in the debate. During that Jews slandered Stephen, if he utters blasphemy against God and against Moses. With such an accusation St. Stephen was brought before the Sanhedrin and the high priest.

He made a fiery speech in which he outlined the history of the Jewish people, and boldly denounced the persecution of the Jews in the prophets, and in the execution of their expected Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Saint Stephen (Giotto) During a speech St Stephen suddenly saw the gaping sky and Jesus Christ in glory. He loudly proclaimed that. Then the Jews, plugging his ears, jumped on him and dragged him out of the city and stoned, and the holy martyr prayed for his murderers.

In the distance, on a hill, there was the Mother of God with the holy Apostle John the Theologian and prayed hard for the martyr. Before his death, Stephen said, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit, O Lord will not impute sin to them that" — and then betrayed Christ, his pure soul.

The body of the holy First Stephen, left to be devoured by wild beasts, secretly took the famous Jewish teacher Gamaliel and his son Aviv and to bury in his estate. Later, they both believed in Christ and were baptized.