St, Stephen, Deacon and Martyr,26 December 2016

Eucharistic Readings:

for Australia

Psalm 31 or 31:1-8; 2 Chronicles 24:17-24 Acts 6:8–7:2a,51c-60;Matthew 10:17-22

Preface of the Incarnation

PRAYER (traditional language)
We give thee thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to thy Son Jesus Christ, who standeth at thy right hand: where he liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

PRAYER (contemporary language)


We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand: where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.
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Last updated: 18 Nov. 2001

STEPHEN
DEACON AND PROTOMARTYR (26 DECEMBER 2016)

Relief of St. Stephen, from a Venetian altarpiece

Relief of St. Stephen, from a Venetian altarpiece

All that we know about Stephen the Protomartyr (that is, the first martyr of the Christian Church) is found in chapters 6 and 7 of the Book of Acts.The early Christian congregations, like the Jewish synagogues, had a program of assistance for needy widows, and some of the Greek-speaking Jews in the Jerusalem congregation complained that their widows were being neglected. The apostles replied: “We cannot both preach and administer financial matters. Choose seven men from among yourselves, respected, Spirit-filled, and of sound judgement, and let them be in charge of the accounts, and we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of the word.” The people accordingly chose seven men, including Stephen, and the apostles laid their hands on them. They are traditionally considered to be the first deacons, although the Scriptures do not use the word to describe them. (The Scriptures do refer to officials called deacons in the local congregations, without being very specific about their duties; and a century or more later, we find the organized charities of each local congregation in the hands of its deacons.) [continued]

Source: St, Stephen, Deacon and Martyr


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