St. Stephen is sometimes called ‘protomartyr’. The first part of the word is ‘proto’ which means ‘first’. From the deacon’s rehearsal of Israel’s history in his confrontation with Jewish leaders we learn the importance of the story, how very necessary it is to keep the story fresh in our hearts and minds, and how we should never forget.
Let us also remember the new martyrs and passion bearers.
Most gracious Father, we heartily thank Thee for rulers and pastors, monks and laymen, men, women, and children, who blossomed forth wondrously in times of grievous persecutions, who finished the course of this earth with Thy confession, bearing good fruit for Christ in Thy endurance. We do here celebrate with rejoicing and thankfulness the faithful witness of the new martyrs of Thy church, [especially N. ].
We humbly beseech Thee so to strengthen us that whenever the hour of trial finds us and we are privileged to suffer for Thy Name’s sake, that we also may receive the gift of courage from Thee, remembering neither tribulation, prison, or death can separate us from Thy love. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the Lord grant us all a blessed Feast of St. Stephen.
I remain sincerely yours in Christ,