August 2 (old calendar) / August 15 (new)
Translation of the Relics of the Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen from Jerusalem to Constantinople (ca. 428), and the finding of the Relics of the Righteous Nicodemus, Gamaliel, and Abibas (ca. 428). Blessed Basil of Moscow, Fool-for-Christ (1552). Bl. Basil of Kubensk (15th c.). Hieromartyr Stephen, Pope of Rome, and those with him (257).
TRANSLATION OF THE RELICS OF SAINT STEPHEN
The Transfer of the Relics of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen from Jerusalem to Constantinople took place about the year 428.
After the holy Protomartyr Archdeacon Stephen was stoned by the Jews, they left his holy body unburied to be devoured by the beasts and birds. After a day and a night the renowned Jewish teacher of the Law, Gamaliel sent people to take up the body of the Protomartyr. Gamaliel buried him on his own property, in his own tomb, not far from Jerusalem.
When Lord’s secret disciple Nicodemus died, Gamaliel also buried him near the grave of Saint Stephen. Afterwards Gamaliel himself, who had been baptized with his son Abibas, was buried near the grave of the Protomartyr Stephen and Saint Nicodemus.
In the year 415 the relics of the saint were uncovered in a miraculous manner and solemnly transferred to Jerusalem by Bishop John and the bishops Eutonius of Sebaste and Eleutherius of Jericho. From that time healings took place from the relics.
Afterwards, during the reign of holy Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450), the relics of the holy Protomartyr Stephen were transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople and placed in the church of the holy deacon Laurence (August 10). When a church dedicated to the Protomartyr Stephen was built, the relics were transferred there on August 2. Saint Stephen’s right hand is preserved in the Serapionov chamber of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.
TROPARION AND KONTAKION
Troparion of the saint, tone 4
Your relics have risen from the depths of the earth, like a treasury for the immortal life of all of creation. The Church, rejoicing in the grace that she receives from them, duteously honors you, Protomartyr Stephen. Preserve us from error and heresy by your intercession!
Kontakion of the saint, tone 6
You were the first to be sown on the earth by the Heavenly Husbandman, O all-praised one. You were the first to shed your blood on the earth for Christ, O blessed one. You were the first to receive the crown of victory from Him in heaven, Stephen, first of the suffering God-crowned martyrs.
2 Cor 6:11-16
- O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.
- You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.
- Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open.
- Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?
- And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?
- And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”
Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out,
saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are – the Holy One of God!”
But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.
Then they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
And immediately His fame spread throughout all the region around Galilee.