The name St Stephens Catholic Church refers to a Catholic temple located on the road south of Nablus, outside the walls of Jerusalem’s Old City. It is next to the St. Stephen Convent, which houses the French Biblical and Archaeological School and the conventual Church. Today, St Stephen Catholic Church is a reminder of this martyr’s courage and faith. In addition, the Church is home to several relics.
Including a piece of stone that was said to have been used to stone Stephen. The antiques and holy images in the Church are a source of inspiration to pilgrims. And a reminder of the martyr’s strength and faith. A visit to St Stephen Catholic Church is a powerful experience. And an opportunity to pay tribute to a true hero of the Christian faith.
St Stephens Catholic Church in the Fifth Century and the Current Basilica
The first temple was built to commemorate the martyrdom in the 5th century when Empress Eudoci had a chapel dedicated to St. Stephen built on the site of the current basilica and was buried there after her death. Unfortunately, the chapel was destroyed with the arrival of the Persians in 614 and the subsequent siege of Jerusalem.
St. Sophronius built a small church in 638, which was later restored. And enlarged by the Crusaders before being destroyed by them so that it did not fall into the hands of Sultan Saladin.
The French Dominicans conquered the site of the ancient Crusader ruins in the nineteenth century. They built the convent and the current basilica, consecrated in 1900.
St. Stephens Catholic Church and the First Deacons and the First Christian martyr
St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr and one of the first deacons; his feast day was December 26. The name Stephen appears for the first time in the Acts of the Apostles during the appointment of the first deacons (Acts 6:5). Dissatisfaction with the distribution of alms from the community fund arose.
So the Apostles selected and specially ordained seven men to look after the relief of the poorest members. He is mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles for the first time. When he was chosen as one of the seven deacons. The circumstances of his martyrdom indicate that the stoning of St. Stephen was a judicial execution rather than an act of mob violence.
St Stephens Catholic Church: A Descriptive Study
We know very little about Stephen’s life before this appointment. His name is Greek, implying that he was a Hellenist. That is a Jew who was born in a foreign land and whose native language was Greek. However, according to a 5th-century tradition, Stephanos was simply the Greek equivalent of the Aramaic Kelil (from the Syriac Kelila crown). Which may have been the protomartyr’s original name and was inscribed on a slab found in his tomb.
Stephen did not appear to be a proselyte, as the fact that Nicholas is the only one of the seven named as such suggests that the others were Jewish by birth. It has been recommended that Stephen was a disciple of Gamaliel based on his able defense before the Sanhedrin. But this has not been proven.
We also don’t know when or under what circumstances he became a Christian. It’s debatable whether St. Epiphanius’ (Haer xx, 4) claim that Stephen was one of the seventy disciples is accurate. His ministry as a deacon appears to have been primarily among Hellenistic converts. With whom the apostles were initially less acquainted.
The Story of Joseph’s Life and the Story of Moses’ Life in Egypt
St Stephen Catholic Church delivered a lengthy speech before the Sanhedrin. He then discussed Abraham, his descendants, and how Joseph came to Egypt. He then discussed how Joseph was Pharaoh’s counselor. And also how the subsequent Pharaohs enslaved the Jewish people, Moses’ life, and his conversation with God.
When the prophet was lost on the mountain, the Israelites told Moses’ brother Aaron to create a God to guide them through the desert. He intended to highlight the Israelites’ disobedience to God with this. He then spoke about the sacred tabernacle Moses built by God’s instructions and the temple Solomon built. In his speech, he stated that God had indicated that he lived in heaven. And earth rather than just in a building, referring to the temple.
According to the book of Acts, St. Stephen used the scriptures to demonstrate that Jesus did not break the rules God gave to Moses but faithfully followed them.
“It Is Time to Forgive”: A Biblical Proclamation of Blasphemy by the Sanhedrin
The Sanhedrin was furious after hearing this statement. Nonetheless, Stephen looked up and shouted to the Sanhedrin that he saw heaven open and the Son of Man (Jesus, who had just been crucified) sitting at God’s right hand. They considered this blasphemy and took Stephen, led him to the city’s outskirts, to a specific location, and stoned him.
In the case of blasphemy, Jews at the time were permitted the death penalty by stoning. The witnesses, tasked with throwing the first stones, left their coats on the ground at the feet of “a boy named Saul,” later known as the apostle Paul. Stephen fell to his knees and died after praying to God to receive his spirit and to forgive his murderers. Saul approved Stephen’s death.
St. Stephen’s Speech: “The People of Israel” and “The Ways of the Lord”
St Stephen was one of the apostles’ most confident men; he spoke and defended Jesus very well, which caused some consternation among the Jews. As a result, according to tradition, he was brought before the nation’s Supreme Court, the Sanhedrin, to be accused of false witnesses. Who argued that Stephen claimed Jesus would destroy the temple and abolish the laws of Moses.
However, the saint did not panic; on the contrary, he delivered an impressive speech in which he recalled the entire history of the people of Israel (Acts 7). And urged the Jews to repentance, chastising them for not only not recognizing the Savior but also crucifying him.
They dragged him out of town and stoned him, filled with rage.
Those who stoned him left their clothes next to a young man named Saul (the future St. Paul, who this martyr’s prayers would convert), who approved of the crime. “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit,” Stephen said as they stoned him. “Lord, do not hold this sin against them,” he shouted, kneeling. And with that, he died.