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Apostle Stephen the Protomartyr

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[[Image:Stephen the ProtomartyrStStephenIcon.jpg|right|St. thumb|300px|‎The holy, glorious, all-laudable Apostle and Archdeacon Stephenthe Protomartyr]]The holy, glorious, all-laudable '''Apostle and Archdeacon Stephen the Protomartyr''' (Gk. Στέφανος, "crown") was an early Christian [[convert]] from among the Hellenistic Jews, one of the original seven [[deacon]]s [[ordination|ordained]] by the [[Apostles]], and the first [[martyr]] of the [[Orthodox Church]]. The Church remembers the martyrdom of St. Stephen on [[December 27]], and the translations of his [[relics]] on [[August 2]], as well as commemorating him on [[June 15]] with Ss. [[Apostle Fortunatus|Fortunatus]] and [[Apostle Achaicus|Achaicus]].
== The name 'Stephen'Life ==The name St. Stephen was a Jew living in Greek is '''Στέφανος'''the Hellenic provinces,n {stef'-related to the [[Apostle Paul]] and one of the first seven deacons ordained by the [[Apostles]] to serve the Church in Jerusalem (thus making him an-os}archdeacon).
The definitions presented In the words of [[Asterias]]:St Stephen was "the starting point of the martyrs, the instructore of suffering for this name are:Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, since Stephen was the first to shed his blood for the Gospel."
A crownThe [[Holy Spirit]] worked powerfully through his faith, which is a::a) Mark of royal or exalted rank; the wreath or garland which was given as a prize to victors in public games;:b) ''metaph''. the eternal blessedness which will be given as a prize enabling him to the genuine servants of God perform many [[miracle]]s and Christ - the crown (wreath) which is the reward of always defeat the righteousness;:c) that which is an ornament and honour to oneJews who would dispute with him.
== Life ==St. Stephen was a Jew living in the Hellenic provinces, related to the [[Apostle Paul]] and one of the first seven deacons ordained by the [[Apostles]] to serve the Church in Jerusalem (thus making him an archdeacon). The [[Holy Spirit]] worked powerfully through his faith, enabling him to perform many [[miracle]]s and always defeat the Jews who would dispute with him. The Jews in their hatred of St. Stephen lied about him to the people, but St. Stephen with his face illumined reminded the people of the miracles God had worked through him and even rebuked the Jews for killing the innocent [[Christ]].
The people were enraged by what they thought was blasphemy and 'gnashed their teeth' at Stephen. It was then that he saw his Christ in the heavens and declared it so. Hearing this, the Jews took him outside the city and stoned him to death, with his kinsman Saul (later St. Paul) holding their coats while they did it. Afar off on a hill was the [[Theotokos|Virgin Mary]] and St. [[Apostle John|John the Theologian]] who witnessed this first martyrdom for the Son of God and prayed for him while he was being stoned. This occurred about a year after the first [[Pentecost]].
== Relics ==
When The body of the Jews stoned St. holy Protomartyr Stephen, they was left his body at the foothill of the city for two days to be eaten by dogs. But on the second night, [[Gamaliel]]—teacher of the Apostle Paul and the [[Apostle Barnabas]]—along with his son, secretly came and moved took the body to his own land estate, in Capharganda, to be buried.  [[Nicodemus the Righteous|Nicodemus]], who died while weeping at this grave, was also buried there along with Gamaliel's godson Abibus and Gamaliel himself upon his repose.
After many years the memory of St. Stephen's burial place had left the minds of men, until 415 when Gamaliel appeared three times to Father Lucian, [[priest]] at Capharganda. He revealed to Fr. Lucian the place of his burial and everything about it. Fr. Lucian received the blessing of the [[Patriarch]] to exhume the [[saint]]s from their grave where a strong, sweet fragrance filled the cave.
[[Image:Protomartyr.jpg|thumb|right|300px|Relic of St. Stephen in Russia <ref> [ Photo of St. Stephen relics] </ref>]]
St. Stephen's [[relics]] were translated to Zion and honorably buried, and many of the sick were healed by his relics. The other three relics were placed inside a church atop the cave on a hill. Eventually, his relics were translated to Constantinople.
Today, you wil find his whole right arm at ''The Holy Trinity of St. Sergius Lavra'', established by St. [[Sergius of Radonezh]] in 1345, at Sergiyev Posad, Russia [http:// Video of ''The Holy Trinity'' monastery]
==Feast Days/Commemorations==
As mentioned above, the main commemoration for St Stephen is December 27, the day of his repose by martyrdom(stoning). The [[Orthodox Church]] celebrates the discovery (opening) of the Saint's relics on September 15 and the [[Translation (relics)|Translation]] of the Relics of Protomartyr Stephen on August 2. The September 15 feast day celebrates the discovery of Stephen's relics in 415, after which they were solemnly transferred to a church built in his honor in Jerusalem. Later, during the reign of [[Emperor Theodosius the Younger]] (408-450), the relics were transported to [[Constantinople]]: this event being commemorated on August 2. January 4 marks the commemoration of the "Synaxis of the 70 Apostles". Since St. Stephen was included in these 70 Apostles mentioned in the "Acts of the Apostles", he is also remembered on January 4.
<!--- == Characteristics of St Stephen ==
Using the original Greek text a portrait of St Stephen's personality can be painted through the Acts of the Apostles.
Listed, in order, these characteristics are:
:1. ἄνδρας (Acts 6:5)
:: This word (man) shows not only his gender but also shows his disposition as a person. It shows that he was ...
[[Troparion]] ([[Tone]] 4) [ Tradition]
:O Protomartyr First Martyr and mighty warrior of Apostle Of Christ our God,:You are victorious in battle and crowned with glory, O holy Stephen!Thou hadst fought the good fight.:You confounded And didst expose the council perversion of your the persecutors,:Beholding your Savior enthroned For when thou wast killed by stoning at the hands of wicked men,:Thou didst receive a crown from the right hand of the Father.on high,:Never cease And didst cry out to [[intercession|intercede]] for the salvation of our soulsGod saying,:"O Lord do not charge this sin against them!"
[[Kontakion]] (Tone 3) [ Tradition]
:Yesterday the Master assumed our flesh and became our guest;came to us as a man,:And today his servant departs from life.:Yesterday the King was born as a man,:Today And today His servant is stoned to death and departs in the flesh,.:The glorious Protomartyr For the sake of Christ Holy Stephenbecame the first martyr==References==<references/>
== Source ==
==External links==
*[ Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen] ([[OCA]])
*[ Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr] ([[GOARCH]])*[ Translation of the Relics of Stephen the Protomartyr] (GOARCH)
*[ St. Stephen Archdeacon and First-Martyr Icon and Story]
[[Category:Seven Deacons|Stephen]]
[[Category:Seventy Apostles|Stephen]]
[[Category:Ante-Nicene Saints|Stephen]]
[[Category:1st-century saints]]
[[el:Στέφανος ο πρωτομάρτυρας]]
[[ro:Apostolul Ştefan (Întâiul-mucenic)]]

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