Saint Stephen the Protomartyr

“Saint Stephen the Protomartyr”
A reflection on Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59
©️2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Stephen, filled with grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people. Certain members of the so-called Synagogue of Freedmen, Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and people from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and debated with Stephen, but they could not withstand the wisdom and the spirit with which he spoke. 

When they heard this, they were infuriated, and they ground their teeth at him. But he, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up intently to heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.”

But they cried out in a loud voice, covered their ears, and rushed upon him together. They threw him out of the city, and began to stone him. The witnesses laid down their cloaks at the feet of a young man named Saul. As they were stoning Stephen, he called out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”

Acts 6:8-10; 7:54-59 (Lectionary)

The Stoning of Saint Stephen

Martyrdom of St. Stephen by Szymon Czechowicz (1749), Poland

Stephen, filled with grace and power,
Preached Christ’s Holy Name with valor.
Struck with stones, the protomartyr
Died for Christ with faith and ardor.

2 Replies to “Saint Stephen the Protomartyr”

  1. Dear Gloria, in commending Saint Stephen’s witness to us, Pope Francis says the following: “Paul was born by God’s grace, but through Stephen’s forgiveness, through Stephen’s witness. That was the seed of his conversion. This is the proof that loving actions change history: even the ones that are small, hidden, everyday. For God guides history through the humble courage of those who pray, love and forgive.” Thank you for your witness and the loving actions of your blog, always helping us to pray, love and forgive….and change ourselves in the process! Merry season of Christmas to you, Gloria!

    1. In the Office of Readings today, St. Fulgentius of Ruspe also reflects on the miracle of grace that healed the division between Stephen and Paul:

      “Now at last, Paul rejoices with Stephen, with Stephen he delights in the glory of Christ, with Stephen he exalts, with Stephen he reigns. Stephen went first, slain by the stones thrown by Paul, but Paul followed after, helped by the prayer of Stephen.”

      May the love of Christ heal all divisions and enmity in our wounded human family!

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