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Prayer For The Feast of Saint Stephen The Martyr

For Use On December 26th or Other Occasions

Saint Stephen was the first Christian martyr. His name means "crown." This is quite appropriate, because it is derived from the Greek word stephanos, and a crown of laurels was given to the winners of races and competitions. The early Christians compared martyrdom to winning the prize in a race, since dying for Christ was the ultimate prize. The message of Stephen, and his martyrdom, are recounted in Acts 6-7.

Saint Stephen's Day is usually associated with Christmas because it falls on December 26th, during Christmastide (the Christmas season). It even gets a mention in the popular Christmas song "Good King Wenceslaus."

Saint Stephen painted by Luis De Morales

The Prayer
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. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 1979

Updated 12-26-2017

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