Stephen (Greek: Στέφανος Stéphanos, meaning "wreath, crown" and by extension "reward, honor", often given as a title rather than as a name, Hebrew: סטפנוס הקדוש), (c. AD 5 – c. AD 34) traditionally venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity, was according to the Acts of the Apostles a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who aroused the enmity of members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy at his trial, he made a long speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him and was then stoned to death. His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who would later become a follower of Jesus and known as Paul the Apostle.
The only primary source for information about Stephen is the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen is mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jews selected to participate in a fairer distribution of welfare to the Greek-speaking widows.
The Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Church of the East venerate Stephen as a saint. Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom; artistic representations often depict him with three stones and the martyr's palm frond. Eastern Christian iconography shows him as a young, beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.
Saint Stephan by Carlo Crivelli
|Deacon and protomartyr|
|Died||AD 34 (aged 29)|
Jerusalem, Judaea, Roman Empire
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Assyrian Church of the East
|Feast||25 December (Armenian Christianity)|
26 December (Western)
27 December (Eastern)
Tobi 1 (Coptic Christianity)
|Attributes||Red Martyr, stones, dalmatic, censer, miniature church, Gospel Book, martyr's palm frond. In Eastern Christianity he often wears an orarion|
|Patronage||Altar Servers ;Acoma Indian Pueblo; casket makers; Cetona, Italy; deacons; headaches; horses; Kessel, Belgium; masons; Owensboro, Kentucky; Passau, Germany; Serbia; Republic of Srpska; Prato, Italy |
Stephen is first mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles as one of seven deacons appointed by the Apostles to distribute food and charitable aid to poorer members of the community in the early church. According to Orthodox belief, he was the eldest and is therefore called "archdeacon". As another deacon, Nicholas of Antioch, is specifically stated to have been a convert to Judaism, it may be assumed that Stephen was born Jewish, but nothing more is known about his previous life. The reason for the appointment of the deacons is stated to have been dissatisfaction among Hellenistic (that is, Greek-influenced and Greek-speaking) Jews that their widows were being slighted in preference to Hebraic ones in the daily distribution of food. Since the name "Stephanos" is Greek, it has been assumed that he was one of these Hellenistic Jews. Stephen is stated to have been full of faith and the Holy Spirit and to have performed miracles among the people.[Acts 6:5, 8]
It seems to have been among synagogues of Hellenistic Jews that he performed his teachings and "signs and wonders" since it is said that he aroused the opposition of the "Synagogue of the Freedmen", and "of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of them that were of Cilicia and Asia".[Acts 6:9] Members of these synagogues had challenged Stephen's teachings, but Stephen had bested them in debate. Furious at this humiliation, they suborned false testimony that Stephen had preached blasphemy against Moses and God. They dragged him to appear before the Sanhedrin, the supreme legal court of Jewish elders, accusing him of preaching against the Temple and the Mosaic Law.[Acts 6:9–14] Stephen is said to have been unperturbed, his face looking like "that of an angel".
In a long speech to the Sanhedrin comprising almost the whole of Acts chapter 7, Stephen presents his view of the history of Israel. The God of glory, he says, appeared to Abraham in Mesopotamia, thus establishing at the beginning of the speech one of its major themes, that God does not dwell only in one particular building (meaning the Temple). Stephen recounts the stories of the patriarchs in some depth, and goes into even more detail in the case of Moses. God appeared to Moses in the burning bush[Acts 7:30–32], and inspired Moses to lead his people out of Egypt. Nevertheless, the Israelites turned to other gods.[Acts 7:39–43] This establishes the second main theme of Stephen's speech, Israel's disobedience to God. Stephen faced two accusations: that he had declared that Jesus would destroy the Temple in Jerusalem and that he had changed the customs of Moses. Benedict XVI stated that St. Stephen appealed to the Jewish scriptures to prove how the laws of Moses were not subverted by Jesus but, instead, were being fulfilled. Stephen denounces his listeners as "stiff-necked" people who, just as their ancestors had done, resist the Holy Spirit. "Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? They even killed those who predicted the coming of the Righteous One. And now you have betrayed and murdered him."[Acts 7:51–53]
Thus castigated, the account is that the crowd could contain their anger no longer. However, Stephen looked up and cried, "Look! I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing on the right hand of God!" He said that the recently executed Jesus was standing by the side of God.[Acts 7:54] The people from the crowd, who threw the first stones, laid their coats down so as to be able to do this, at the feet of a "young man named Saul" (later known as Paul the Apostle). Stephen prayed that the Lord would receive his spirit and his killers be forgiven, sank to his knees, and "fell asleep" [Acts 7:58–60]. Saul "approved of their killing him".[Acts 8:1] In the aftermath of Stephen's death, the remaining disciples fled to distant lands, many to Antioch.[Acts 11:19–20]
The exact site of Stephen's stoning is not mentioned in Acts; instead there are two different traditions. One, claimed by noted French archaeologists Louis-Hugues Vincent (1872–1960) and Félix-Marie Abel (1878–1953) to be ancient, places the event at Jerusalem's northern gate, while another one, dated by Vincent and Abel to the Middle Ages and no earlier than the 12th century, locates it at the eastern gate.
Of the numerous speeches in Acts of the Apostles, Stephen's speech to the Sanhedrin is the longest. To the objection that it seems unlikely that such a long speech could be reproduced in the text of Acts exactly as it was delivered, some Biblical scholars have replied that Stephen's speech shows a distinctive personality behind it.
It has often been observed that there are numerous divergences in Stephen's re-telling of the stories of Israelite history and the scriptures where these stories originated; for instance, Stephen says that Jacob's tomb was in Shechem,[Acts 7:16] but Genesis 50:13[Genesis 50:13] says Jacob's final resting place was a cave in Machpelah at Hebron.[Acts 8:1] There are at least five of these discrepancies, which some scholars have seen as errors, others as deliberate, in order to make specific theological points. There are also theologians who suggested that this discrepancy may come from an ancient Jewish tradition which was not included in the scriptures or may have been popular among people of Jerusalem who were not scribes. Numerous parallels between the accounts of Stephen in Acts and the Jesus of the Gospels – they both perform miracles, they are both tried by the Sanhedrin, they both pray for forgiveness for their killers, for instance – have led to suspicions that the author of Acts has emphasised – in order to show the recipient that people become holy when they follow the example of Christ – or invented some (or all) of these. The criticism of traditional Jewish belief and practice in Stephen's speech is very strong – when he says God does not live in a dwelling "made by human hands", referring to the Temple, he is using an expression often employed by Biblical texts to describe idols.
Some people have laid the charge of anti-Judaism against the speech, for instance the priest and scholar of comparative religion S. G. F. Brandon, who states "The anti-Jewish polemic of this speech reflects the attitude of the author of Acts."
Acts 8:2[Acts 8:2] says "Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him", but the location where he was buried is not specified.
In 415 AD, a priest named Lucian purportedly had a dream that revealed the location of Stephen's remains at Beit Jimal. After that, the relics of the protomartyr were taken in procession to the Church of Hagia Sion on 26 December 415, making it the date for the feast of Saint Stephen. In 439, the relics were translated to a new church north of the Damascus Gate built by the empress Aelia Eudocia in honor of Saint Stephen. This church was destroyed in the 12th century. A 20th-century French Catholic church, Saint-Étienne, was built in its place, while another, the Greek Orthodox Church of St Stephen, was built outside the eastern gate of the city, which a second tradition holds to be site of his martyrdom, rather than the northern location outside Damascus Gate (for the two traditions see here).
The Crusaders initially called the main northern gate of Jerusalem "Saint Stephen's Gate" (in Latin, Porta Sancti Stephani), highlighting its proximity to the site of martyrdom of Saint Stephen, marked by the church and monastery built by Empress Eudocia. A different tradition is documented from the end of the Crusader period, after the disappearance of the Byzantine church: as Christian pilgrims were prohibited from approaching the militarily exposed northern city wall, the name "Saint Stephen's Gate" was transferred to the still accessible eastern gate, which bears this name until this day.
The relics of the protomartyr were later translated to Rome by Pope Pelagius II during the construction of the basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura. They were interred alongside the relics of Saint Lawrence, whose tomb is enshrined within the church. According to the Golden Legend, the relics of Lawrence moved miraculously to one side to make room for those of Stephen.
The Imperial Regalia of the Holy Roman Empire includes a relic known as St. Stephen's Purse which is an elaborate gold and jewel-encrusted box believed to contain soil soaked with the blood of St. Stephen. The reliquary is likely a 9th century creation.
In Western Christianity, 26 December is called "Saint Stephen's Day", the "Feast of Stephen" mentioned in the English Christmas carol "Good King Wenceslas". It is a public holiday in many nations that were historically Catholic, Anglican or Lutheran, including Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, Poland, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Catalonia and the Balearic Isles. In Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the United Kingdom, the day is celebrated as "Boxing Day".
In the current norms for the liturgy of the Roman Catholic Church, the feast is celebrated at the Eucharist, but, for the Liturgy of the Hours, is restricted to the Hours during the day, with Evening Prayer being reserved to the celebration of the Octave of Christmas. Historically, the "Invention of the Relics of Saint Stephen" (i.e., their reputed discovery) was commemorated on 3 August. The feasts of both 26 December and 3 August have been used in dating clauses in historical documents produced in England.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church, those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite, and in Oriental Orthodox Churches (e.g., Coptic, Syrian, Malankara), Saint Stephen's feast day is celebrated on 27 December. This day is also called the "Third Day of the Nativity" because it is the third day of the Christmas season.
Some Orthodox churches, particularly in the west, follow a modified Julian calendar that places date names identically with the standard Gregorian calendar of widespread civil usage. In those churches, then, the date the feast is observed is generally known as 27 December. However, other Orthodox churches, including the Oriental Orthodox, continue to use the original Julian calendar. Throughout the 21st century, 27 December Julian will continue to fall on 9 January in the Gregorian calendar, and that is the date on which they observe the feast.
In the Armenian Apostolic and Armenian Catholic Churches, Saint Stephen's Day falls on 25 December – the day on which the feast of the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) falls in all other churches. This is because the Armenian churches maintain the decree of Constantine, which stipulated that the Nativity and Theophany of Jesus were to be celebrated on 6 January. In dioceses of the Armenian Church which use the Julian Calendar, Saint Stephen's Day falls on 7 January and Nativity/Theophany on 19 January (for the remainder of the 21st century Julian).
In the eucharistic celebration on this feast day, it is traditional for all deacons serving at the altar to wear a liturgical crown (Armenian: խոյր khooyr), which is one of the vestments worn only by priests on all other days of the year, the crown being in this instance a symbol of martyrdom.
Many churches and other places commemorate Stephen. Among the most notable are the two sites in Jerusalem held by different traditions to be the place of his martyrdom, the Salesian monastery of Beit Jimal in Israel held to be the place where his remains were miraculously found, and the church of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura in Rome, where the saint's remains are said to be buried.
Important churches and sites dedicated to Saint Stephen are:
.... St. Stephen's Gate (Lions' gate; Bab Sitti Mariam). The gate owes its name to a tradition according to which Stephen the Deacon, the first martyr, was stoned on this spot. At the beginning of the 20 c. the Greek Orthodox Patriarchy built a church dedicated to the Protomartyr in their property in front of the gate, in an endeavour to pinpoint the tradition of the site, which was falling into oblivion following the construction of the Dominican church and monastery on the site of the Eudocian church of St. Stephen north of Damascus Gate. The Greek builders went so far as to maintain that, in digging the foundations of the new church, they had found a broken lintel with an engraved invocation to Saint Stephen, but their claim, accepted by Macalister and Vailhé, was promptly disproved by Vincent, who was able to show that the lintel came in fact from Beersheba. Vincent and Abel maintained that the tradition about Stephen's stoning at the eastern gate of Jerusalem was not earlier than the 12 c., while the tradition pointing to the northern gate was ancient. .... J. Milik .... suggested that all the tombstones discovered in this area belonged to the cemetery of the Probatica.CS1 maint: Uses editors parameter (link)
The local guides simply moved to the Kidron valley certain holy places, notably the church of Saint Stephen, which in reality were north of the city, and business went on as before.
Aghjots Vank (Armenian: Աղջոց վանք); also known as the Saint Stephen Monastery of Goght (Armenian: Գողթի Սուրբ Ստեփանոս վանք), is a 13th-century monastery situated along a tributary of the Azat River Valley within the Khosrov State Reserve located half a mile walk from the hamlet of Mets Gilanlar, and near the villages of Goght and Garni (approximately 3–4 miles) in the Ararat Province of Armenia. Not far from this location and also within the reserve is the fortress of Kakavaberd and the monastic complex of Havuts Tar.Béla Orczy
Baron Béla Orczy de Orczi (16 January 1822 – 7 February 1917) was a Hungarian politician and freedom fighter, who served as Interior Minister between 1887 and 1889. He was also Minister of Home Defence for several months in 1884. He took part in the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, he fought against the rebelling Serbs in the area of Vojvodina (natively Vajdaság). He was the de facto Minister of Foreign Affairs between 1879 and 1890. His paternal grandfather was the famous poet Lőrinc Orczy.Church of Saint Stephen (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
The Church of Saint Stephen is a historic Roman Catholic church located at 2211 Clinton Avenue South, in the Whittier neighborhood of Minneapolis in the U.S. state of Minnesota. This neighborhood is where entrepreneurs and businessmen built their mansions in the modern-day Washburn-Fair Oaks Mansion District. The building was built with sandstone, brick, concrete, and copper in 1889-1891.It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1991. It was considered significant as an early and well-preserved example of a Richardsonian Romanesque/Romanesque Revival church.Holy Crown of Hungary
The Holy Crown of Hungary (Hungarian: Szent Korona), also known as the Crown of Saint Stephen, was the coronation crown used by the Kingdom of Hungary for most of its existence; kings have been crowned with it since the twelfth century.
The Crown was bound to the Lands of the Hungarian Crown (sometimes the Sacra Corona meant the Land, the Carpathian Basin, but it also meant the coronation body, too). No king of Hungary was regarded as having been truly legitimate without being crowned with it. In the history of Hungary, more than fifty kings were crowned with it, up to the last, Charles IV, in 1916 (the only kings who were not so crowned were John II Sigismund, Gabriel Bethlen and Joseph II).
The enamels on the crown are mainly or entirely Byzantine work, presumed to have been made in Constantinople in the 1070s. The crown was presented by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VII Doukas to King Géza I of Hungary; both are depicted and named in Greek on enamel plaques in the lower crown. It is one of the two known Byzantine crowns to survive, the other being the slightly earlier Monomachus Crown, which is also in Budapest, in the Hungarian National Museum. However, the Monomachus Crown may have had another function, and the Holy Crown has probably been remodelled, and uses elements of different origins. The date assigned to the present configuration of the Holy Crown varies, but is most commonly put around the late 12th century. The Hungarian coronation insignia consists of the Holy Crown, the sceptre, the orb, and the mantle. The orb has the coat-of-arms of Charles I of Hungary (1310–1342). In popular tradition the Holy Crown was thought to be older, dating to the time of the first King Stephen I of Hungary, crowned in 1000/1001.
It was first called the Holy Crown in 1256. During the 14th century, royal power came to be represented not simply by a crown, but by just one specific object: the Holy Crown. This also meant that the Kingdom of Hungary was a special state: they were not looking for a crown to inaugurate a king, but rather, they were looking for a king for the crown; as written by Crown Guard Péter Révay. He also depicts that "the Holy Crown is for the Hungarians what the Lost Ark is for the Jewish people".Since 2000, the Holy Crown has been on display in the central Domed Hall of the Hungarian Parliament Building.József Szlávy
József Szlávy de Érkenéz et Okány (23 November 1818 in Győr – 8 August 1900 Zsitvaújfalu, (today Nová Ves nad Žitavou, Slovakia)) was a Hungarian politician who served as prime minister from 1872 to 1874, as Speaker of the House of Representatives of Hungary from 3 April 1879 to 12 April 1880 and as Speaker of the House of Magnates from 19 September 1894 to 3 October 1896.Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen
The official name "Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen" (Hungarian: "a Szent Korona Országai") denominated the Hungarian territories of Austria-Hungary during the totality of the existence of the latter (30 March 1867 – 16 November 1918). This union is sometimes denominated "Archiregnum Hungaricum" ("Arch-Kingdom of Hungary"), pursuant to Medieval Latin terminology. Pursuant to Article 1 of the Croatian–Hungarian Settlement of 1868, this territory was officially defined as "a state union of Kingdom of Hungary and Triune Kingdom of Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia". The Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen disintegrated after the dissolution of Austria-Hungary.
They are distinct from the Lands of the Hungarian Crown, which constituted part of the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen.Lmbatavank
Officially, the Saint Stephen Church of Lmbat Monastery (Armenian: Լմպատի վանքի Սուրբ Ստեփանոս եկեղեցի), more commonly known as Lmbatavank (Armenian: Լմբատավանք), is a church located on a hillside southwest of the town of Artik in the Shirak Province of Armenia. It was constructed in the 7th-century and was dedicated to Saint Stephen.Lower Bethlehemi Church
The Lower Bethlemi Church(Georgian: ქვემო ბეთლემის ეკლესია), also known as the Church of Saint Stepanos of the Holy Virgins (Armenian: Կուսանաց Սուրբ Ստեփանոս վանք) or Koosanats Sourb Stepanos Vank) – is a 14th–19th-century church at the foot of Narikala fortress in Old Tbilisi, Georgia. It was rebuilt between 1868 and 1870 and operated as an Armenian church. In 1988 it was given to the Georgian Orthodox and its Armenian identity was "Georgianized" in 1991.Order of Saint Stephen
The Order of Saint Stephen (Official: Sacro Militare Ordine di Santo Stefano Papa e Martire, "Holy Military Order of St. Stephen Pope and Martyr") is a Roman Catholic Tuscan dynastic military order founded in 1561. The order was created by Cosimo I de' Medici, first Grand Duke of Tuscany. The last member of the Medici dynasty to be a leader of the order was Gian Gastone de Medici in 1737. The order was permanently abolished in 1859 by the annexation of Tuscany to the Kingdom of Sardinia. The former Kingdom of Italy and the current Italian Republic also did not recognize the order as a legal entity but tolerates it as a private body.Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary
The Order of Saint Stephen (Hungarian: Szent István rend) was an order of knighthood founded by Maria Theresa in 1764. In 1938, Miklós Horthy took the rights and activities of Grand Master as Regent of Hungary. The name of the Order changed to The Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen (German: Königlich Ungarischer Sankt-Stephans-Orden, Latin: Ordo Equitum Sancti Stephani Regis (Hungariae) Apostolici). The Order was terminated at the time of the proclamation of the Republic of Hungary in 1946. It was recreated in 2011 as the Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen, and to this day remains the highest order in Hungary.Pope Stephen I
Pope Stephen I (Latin: Stephanus I; died 2 August 257) was the Bishop of Rome from 12 May 254 to his death in 257. Of Roman birth but of Greek ancestry, he became bishop after serving as archdeacon of Pope Lucius I, who appointed Stephen his successor.Saint Stephen's Day
Saint Stephen's Day, or the Feast of Saint Stephen, is a Christian saint's day to commemorate Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr or protomartyr, celebrated on 26 December in the Latin Church and 27 December in Eastern Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Churches that adhere to the Julian calendar mark Saint Stephen's Day on 27 December according to that calendar, which places it on 9 January of the Gregorian calendar used in secular contexts. In Latin Christian denominations, Saint Stephen's Day marks the second day of Christmastide.It is an official public holiday in Alsace-Moselle, Austria, the Balearic Islands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Catalonia, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, and Switzerland. The date is also a public holiday in those countries that celebrate Boxing Day on the day in addition to or instead of Saint Stephen's Day, such as Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom.Saint Stephen Triptych
The Saint Stephen Triptych is a 1616–1617 oil on panel painting by Peter Paul Rubens, produced as the high altarpiece for Saint-Amand Abbey, a Benedictine house near Valenciennes. It was seized during the French Revolution and is now in the Musée des Beaux Arts de Valenciennes.
The central panel shows The Stoning of Saint Stephen, whilst the main images on the two side panels show The Preaching of Saint Stephen and The Burial of Saint Stephen. When closed, the reverse of the two side panels form an Annunciation scene. Jacob Nicolas Moreau, a traveller during the reign of Louis XV, mentioned the altarpiece, stating "I believed I saw the heavens opened, so much was I struck by the beauty of the colouring and by the freshness of this admirable painting".Saint Stephen and Herod
"St. Stephen and Herod" is Child ballad 22 and a Christmas carol. It depicts the martyrdom of Saint Stephen as occurring, with wild anachronism, under Herod the Great, and claims that that was the reason for St. Stephen's Day being the day after Christmas.St. Stephen's Basilica
St. Stephen's Basilica (Hungarian: Szent István-bazilika, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈsɛnt ˈiʃtvaːn ˈbɒzilikɒ]) is a Roman Catholic basilica in Budapest, Hungary. It is named in honour of Stephen, the first King of Hungary (c 975–1038), whose supposed right hand is housed in the reliquary. It was the sixth largest church building in Hungary before 1920. Since the renaming of the primatial see, it's the co-cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Esztergom-Budapest. Today, it is the third largest church building in present-day Hungary.St. Stephen, New Brunswick
St. Stephen (2016 population: 4,415) is a Canadian town in Charlotte County, New Brunswick, situated on the east bank of the St. Croix River around the intersection of New Brunswick Route 170 and the southern terminus of New Brunswick Route 3. The St. Croix River marks a section of the Canada–United States border, forming a natural border between Calais, Maine and St. Stephen. U.S. Route 1 parallels the St. Croix river for a few miles, and is accessed from St. Stephen by three cross-border bridges.Stephen I of Hungary
Stephen I, also known as King Saint Stephen (Hungarian: Szent István király, [ˌsænt ˈiʃtvaːn kiraːj]; Latin: Sanctus Stephanus; Slovak: Štefan I. or Štefan Veľký; c. 975 – 15 August 1038 AD), was the last Grand Prince of the Hungarians between 997 and 1000 or 1001, and the first King of Hungary from 1000 or 1001 until his death in 1038. The year of his birth is uncertain, but many details of his life suggest that he was born in or after 975 in Esztergom. At his birth, he was given the pagan name Vajk. The date of his baptism is unknown. He was the only son of Grand Prince Géza and his wife, Sarolt, who was descended from the prominent family of the gyulas. Although both of his parents were baptized, Stephen was the first member of his family to become a devout Christian. He married Gisela of Bavaria, a scion of the imperial Ottonian dynasty.
After succeeding his father in 997, Stephen had to fight for the throne against his relative, Koppány, who was supported by large numbers of pagan warriors. He defeated Koppány mainly with the assistance of foreign knights, including Vecelin, Hont and Pázmány, but also with help from native lords. He was crowned on 25 December 1000 or 1 January 1001 with a crown sent by Pope Sylvester II. In a series of wars against semi-independent tribes and chieftains—including the Black Hungarians and his uncle, Gyula the Younger—he unified the Carpathian Basin. He protected the independence of his kingdom by forcing the invading troops of Conrad II, Holy Roman Emperor, to withdraw from Hungary in 1030.
Stephen established at least one archbishopric, six bishoprics and three Benedictine monasteries; thus the Church in Hungary developed independently of the archbishops of the Holy Roman Empire. He encouraged the spread of Christianity with severe punishments for ignoring Christian customs. His system of local administration was based on counties organized around fortresses and administered by royal officials. Hungary, which enjoyed a lasting period of peace during his reign, became a preferred route for pilgrims and merchants traveling between Western Europe and the Holy Land or Constantinople.
He survived all of his children. He died on 15 August 1038 and was buried in his new basilica, built in Székesfehérvár and dedicated to the Holy Virgin. His death caused civil wars which lasted for decades. He was canonized by Pope Gregory VII, together with his son, Emeric, and Bishop Gerard of Csanád, in 1083. Stephen is a popular saint in Hungary and the neighboring territories. In Hungary, his feast day (celebrated on 20 August) is also a public holiday commemorating the foundation of the state.Stephen of Piperi
Saint Stephen of Piperi (Serbian: Свети Стефан Пиперски) (died May 20, 1697) is a Saint of the Serbian Orthodox Church.
He was born into the Nikšić clan in the village of Kuti in Župa of poor but devout parents, Radoje and Jaćima Krulanović. According to tradition, he first lived a life of asceticism in the Morača monastery where he was abbot. The Turks drove him out of Morača and he settled in Rovacki, Turmanj in the place which today is called Celište. In 1660 he settled in Piperi in a cell where he remained in labor and asceticism until his death. He died peacefully on May 20, 1697. His relics still repose there and are claimed to produce miracles. His feast day is celebrated on the anniversary of his repose, on May 20.The Stoning of Saint Stephen
The Stoning of Saint Stephen is the first signed painting by Dutch artist Rembrandt, painted in 1625 at the age of 19. It is currently kept in the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.
This work is inspired by the martyrdom of Saint Stephen which is recounted in Acts 7. This young deacon in the Christian community of Jerusalem was sentenced to death by stoning. The painting was influenced by the art of Caravaggio and Adam Elsheimer. It represents the moment when Stephen was stoned outside the city by his many tormentors (about twenty characters), and he utters his last words to Christ as the light around him shows that the heavens are open.The painting is divided into two distinct zones with a diagonal creating an effect of chiaroscuro: on the left, a man on horseback is in the shadow, and on the right, Stephen and his persecutors are in the light. Saul of Tarsus can be seen seated in the background holding in his lap the coats of the stoners. Some inaccuracies in the drawing can be seen. The character behind Stephen seems to be a self-portrait done into a wider composition, as Spanish painter Diego Velázquez did in Las Meninas. John Durham suggests that Rembrandt "presents himself as a somewhat alarmed presence, a participant who may be having second thoughts about what was taking place."
New Testament people
† Recognized as a prophet. ‡Status as a prophet is not universally recognized
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