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Translation of the Relics of Stephen the Protomartyr

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August 2

Reading:

After the First Martyr had been stoned to death (see Dec. 27), Gamaliel, his teacher, encouraged certain of the Christians to go by night and take up the Saint's body and bury it in his field, which was at a distance of some twenty miles from Jerusalem and was called by his name, "Kaphar-gamala," that is, "the field of Gamala," where Gamaliel himself was later buried. About the year 427, a certain pious man called Lucian, who was the parish priest of a church near to that field, received from God a revelation in a dream concerning the place where the First Martyr was buried. He immediately made this known to John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem. Thus, coming to the place indicated, and digging there, they found a box with the word "Stephen" in Aramaic letters. On opening it, they took these most sacred relics and transferred them to Jerusalem with great honor and in the company of a very great multitude of the faithful.

Apolytikion in the Fourth Tone

For the struggles you endured for Christ God, a royal diadem crowns your head, O First Champion of Martyrs. For you refuted the folly of the Jews and beheld your Savior on the right of the Father. Ever beseech Him, therefore, for our souls.

Kontakion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Thou wast the first to be sown upon earth by the Heavenly Husbandman, O all-famed Stephen; thou wast the first to shed thy blood upon the earth for Christ, O blessed one; thou wast the first to be honoured by Him with the crown of victory in Heaven, as the spearhead of the athletes, O first crowned champion of the Martyrs.