Saint Stephen


t. Stephen's Day

In Western Christianity, December 26, is called "St Stephen's Day", the "feast of Stephen" of the Christmas carol, "Good King Wenceslas"; it is a public holiday in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Slovak Republic, Poland, Republika Srpska, England and Wales, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Finland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In Catalonia (though not elsewhere in Spain) it is called "Sant Esteve" and is a bank holiday. It is called "Saint Étienne" in France, where it is a bank holiday in the Alsace-Moselle region (but not elsewhere). December 26 is also a holiday in Ligao City, Philippines, which celebrates a "fiesta" in honor of St Stephen Protomartyr, its patron saint.

In the Eastern Orthodox Church and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, his feast day is celebrated on December 27. (This date in the Julian Calendar currently corresponds to January 9 in the Gregorian Calendar.) This day is also called the "Third Day of the Nativity".

The General Roman Calendar included also on 3 August a feast of the Invention of the Relics of St Stephen — "Invention," ( _la. inventio), meaning "finding" or "discovery" — to commemorate the finding of St Stephen's relics during the reign of Emperor Honorius. In the Tridentine Calendar this feast was celebrated as a "Semidouble", a rank that it lost in 1955, when Pope Pius XII reduced it to the rank of "Simple". [General Roman Calendar of Pope Pius XII] It was one of the second feasts of a single saint removed from the calendar by Pope John XXIII in 1960, [General Roman Calendar of 1962] and so is not celebrated by those who, in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI's motu proprio, "Summorum Pontificum", observe the 1962 calendar.

The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the Translation of the Relics of Protomartyr Stephen on August 2. The feast 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) they were translated to Constantinople.

Cult of Saint Stephen

Many churches are named in honor of Saint Stephen, but there was no official "Tomb of St Stephen" until 415. When Christian pilgrims were traveling in large numbers to Jerusalem, a priest named Lucian said he had learned by a vision that the tomb was in Caphar Gamala, some distance to the north of Jerusalem. Gregory of Tours reports that the intercession of Stephen preserved an oratory dedicated to him at Metz, in which his relics were preserved when the Huns burned the entire city, leaving only the oratory standing, Easter Eve, 451 ( [ "Historia Francorum" ii.6] ).

In popular culture

The Grateful Dead released the song "Saint Stephen" on the album "Aoxomoxoa" in 1969. Performed in many concerts over the years, it is not clear how much the lyrics relate to the actual life of the saint.

Commemorative places

* In Batroun, Lebanon - The Church of St. Stephen
*In Vienna, Austria - Stephansdom, the Cathedral of St. Stephen, founded 1147 and seat of Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna. Symbol of the city of Vienna and of Austria, has tallest spire in all of Austria and is the country's most famous church
*In Rome - Basilica of Saint Lawrence outside the Walls where his remains are interred with those of the eponymous saint under the altar
* In Toronto, Canada - "St. Stephen's Community House"
* In East Jerusalem - St. Stephen's Church
* In the old city of Jerusalem - the "Lions' Gate" is also called "St. Stephanus Gate", after the tradition that Stephen's stoning occurred here, though it probably occurred at Damascus Gate []
* In the village of Kafarbe, southeast Turkey - "Mor Stephanus Church"
* In the village of Saint Stefan - Sveti Stefan in the Ohrid region, Republic of Macedonia St.Stefan church
* In London - St Stephen's Chapel in the Palace of Westminster was originally built in the reign of King Henry III and eventually became the first location of the debating chamber of the House of Commons
* In Dublin - St. Stephen's Green
* In Croghan - St. Stephen's Church
* In Manila, Philippines - St. Stephen's Parish (established by the American Episcopal Mission to the Philippines in 1903) and St. Stephen's High School
* Near St Austell in Cornwall, UK, a village called St Stephen (in Brannel)
* In Riverview, Florida USA - St. Stephen's Church
* St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Perth Amboy, NJ, one of the oldest ethnic (Polish) Catholic parishes in New Jersey


*cite encyclopedia
encyclopedia = Encyclopedia Britannica
title = Stephen, Saint | edition = 15th edition
year = 1974
volume = Volume 11 | pages = 250-251

*cite book |last=Latourette |first=Kenneth Scott |authorlink=Kenneth Scott Latourette |title=A History of Christianity |edition=1st paperback edition |year=1975 |publisher=Harper & Row |location=New York
id=ISBN 0060649526 |pages=67-68 |chapter=The Sweep of Christianity Across the Græco-Roman World

*cite encyclopedia
last = Nixon | first = R. E.
editor = J. D. Douglas
encyclopedia = The New Bible Dictionary
title = Stephen
year = 1962 | publisher = Wm. B. Eerdmans
location = Grand Rapids
id = ISBN 0-8028-2282-7
pages = 1216

External links

*CathEncy|id=14286b|title= St. Stephen|short=yes
* [ WikiChristian: Stephen (Acts)]
* [ Apostle Stephen the Archdeacon of the Seventy] Orthodox icon and synaxarion
* [ Translation of the relics of the Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen from Jerusalem to Constantinople]

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