Hello everyone and
welcome to Saint Study Episode 114 – “St. Stephen”
Thank you for
joining us – maybe we can all learn enough today that by the end of
the program we will say, “I didn’t know that” (But now I do!)
What is a saint?
A Canonized Saint is someone recognized by the Church as having led a
life of great charity & heroic virtue. Their example of how to conquer
any sin imaginable is so important that it was worth recognizing these
men & women in a significant way. Anyone (canonized or not) whose soul
was cleansed in Purgatory and now resides in Heaven is a Saint. It is
every Christian’s goal to become a saint.
We always begin our
learning by inviting the Holy Spirit to be with us…
In the Name Of The
Father, Son & Holy Spirit. Amen.
Father we ask you to be with us as we hear about the lives of your
Saints. We ask that our minds be open and that you may fill us with
the knowledge that was so loved by the men and women who lived lives
of heroic virtue and great charity. Allow us to understand and emulate
these Saints who we now know are in your company. In your name we
Let’s look at The
Saint for this week - St. Stephen
Life-Bio, Death, Feast Day,
All we know about
St. Stephen comes from the Acts of the Apostles.
Acts 6:1-15 &
We know St. Stephen
was a Hellenist. That is a Jew from another land was native tongue
There was an
increasing number of people following the Apostles in those early
days of Christianity
An early problem
that became evident was how the alms were being distributed. Alms is
a word for charity. The widows were not being properly cared for.
This problem was
presented to the apostles and it was thought that another ministry
should be created. That new ministry was called the Deaconate.
The Apostles decided
that 7 men who were filled with the “Holy Spirit & Wisdom” should be
selected from those early disciples. (Followers of Christ – Not the
St. Stephen was one
of these men chosen for the Deaconate
St. Stephen was said
to have been a very good orator and his words had “Unimpeachable
Logic that no one was able to resist.”
St. Stephen was
unable however to change the minds of the reluctant.
There were those who
did not want to hear about Christianity.
They looked at it as
a heresy against Judaism.
St. Stephen used his
wisdom and understanding to preach the word of God and this was to
lead to his being the first Christian Martyr
There was a group
called the cavilers of the synagogues of the Libertines, and of the
After a dispute with
Stephen, they were completely discomfited (or tongue – tied) and
pride so inflamed and offended that they suborned false witnesses to
testify against St. Stephen that "they had heard him speak words of
blasphemy against Moses and against God"
St. Stephen was
arrested and brought before the Sanhedrin. (Jewish judicial council
of the time)
Stephens’s defense he gave a summery of the Jewish faith since
that even during those times when God revealed His word through the
prophets that because the words they said, these prophets were
persecuted as well because they thought they were blaspheming
against the laws of their ancestors.
Stephen Concluded in
verse 53 by saying, “You received the law transmitted by the Angels
and did not observe it.”
infuriated the people.
Stephen must have
sensed that his life would be demanded from him so he looked into
the Heavens and was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Stephen told the
people “Behold I have seen the Heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God.”
This proclamation is
said to have caused the people to cry aloud and cover their ears
It was then that
Stephen was taken out of the city and stoned.
It is important to
note that this was probably not done in an unorganized and “mob
Those who took
Stephen likely thought they were carrying out their interpretation
of ancient law (Leviticus 24:14) which deals with blaspheming.
The stoning began
after they laid their cloaks at the feet of a certain young man of
interest named Saul.
As he was dying St.
Stephen spoke out, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit”
Falling to his knees
Stephens’s last words were, “Lord do not hold their sins against
them” and he died.
On that day in
Jerusalem there began a terrible persecution of the church
The young man named
Saul began going house to house dragging out Christians and handing
them over to authorities for imprisonment
Keep in mind that
many were deeply rooted in the traditions passed down by their
Think of St. Simon
whom Jesus picked to be an apostle. St. Simon as we recall was
called Simon the Zealot because of his Zeal for Jewish law.
Jesus picked these
men because it would show the others who have a similar eagerness
for their Jewish faith that it was possible to follow Christianity
and that it did NOT contradict the Old Testament.
For years St.
Stephens’s tomb was unknown. The bodies of those stoned to death
were appointed to a place of burial by the Sanhedrin
In 451 AD (Or C.E. –
Common Era - as some now want to call it) A priest by the name of
Lucian was given a revelation as to where St. Stephens tomb was
located (Capher Gamal – North of Jerusalem)
St. Stephens relics
were transferred to the Church of Mount Sion
Later around 460 AD
they were moved to the place of the stoning where a basilica was
St. Stephen’s Feast
day is December 26th.
is the patron
Kentucky, diocese of
Interesting notes about their life or sainthood
AD33 – The clues given
tell us that the word of God had spread beyond Jerusalem. St. Stephen
was a foreign born Jew who made the transition from Judaism to the new
Also St. Stephen
showed us by his example that in order to follow Jesus you must not be
vengeful and unforgiving. (Remember the meek & humble Jesus)
Vocabulary Words for
Sanhedrin – Jewish
Alms – Charity (done
Hellenist – Foreign
born Jew – Usually Greek speaking
Blasphemy – contrary
to the respect due God and His holy name. It is a grave sin.
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C.C.C. 2474 – The
Church painstakingly collected the records of those who persevered to the
end in witnessing to their faith. These are the acts of the Martyrs. They
form the archives of truth in letters of blood.
The Peace of our Lord Be always with you…Have a good day!