Obrazy na stronie

prayed for them unto thee, 0 clamant, dicentes: Sanctus, Holy God, Father Almighty, Sanctus, Sanctus. through our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son, who, for our sins, vouchsafed to be born of the Virgin, and suffer death; teaching his Martyrs, hereby, by his own example, how they should suffer. To whom most justly do all the Angels and Archangels cry out unceasingly, saying: Holy, Holy, Holy!

Let us next listen to the Greek Church singing the praises of our Protomartyr. She thus extols him in her Menaaa:

{XXVI. Decembris, in magno Vespertino, et passim.)

Illumined in thy soul with the grace of the Holy Ghost, thy face shone like that of an Angel, O Stephen! The brightness that was within sent forth its rays upon thy body, and thy soul evinced to the beholders the light and contemplation thou didst enjoy, when the heavens were miraculously opened before thee, O thou the leader and the glory of the Martyrs!

The thickly falling stones were to thee as the steps of a ladder reaching the gate of heaven, and by which ascending, thou didst behold our Lord standing on the Father's right hand, offering thee, with his own life-giving right hand, that which was thy very name—a Crown : and now thou standest near him, thou the glorious conqueror, and the first combatant.

Illustrious by thy wonders

Mente illustratus Spiritus gratia, forma velut Angelus videris, Stephane, dato tibi in corpore qui intus erat splendore, et mente tua cernentibus manifestante fulgorem quo fruitus es, luminisque contemplationes, ccelis tibi mirabihter aper• tis, o martyrum caput et gloria.

Quasi gradus scal8e; ad ccelestem mgressum tibi fuerunt lapidum flocci, super quos ascendens contemplatus es stantem Dominum, ad Patris dexteram, tibi offerentem homonymam coronam sua vivifica dextera, cui vicinus adstas victor gloriosus,athletarumque primitiae.

Signis et miraculis corus

cans, coelestibus documents, impiorum combussisti synedrium, et ab illis necatus lapidibusque obrutus, pro injectantium tu deprecatus es venia, vocem unitatus Salvatoris, in cujus manus commendasti sacratissimum spiritum tuum, Stephane.

Regi et Domino omnium nato in terra, Stephanus perlucidus offertur, non pretiosis decoratus gemmis, sed ex proprio sanguine floridus : at, o martyrum amatores, venite, decerptis carminum floribus cingamus sertis tempora, et hymnis alternantes canamus: qui sapientia et charitate coruscas mente, protomartyr Christi Dei, deprecare pro nobis pacem et magnam misericordiam.

Tu ad auxilium Apostolorum Christi digne vocatus es, et ut fidelis diaconus, o vere nominate Stephane, administrasti; tamquam Christus per sanguinem transivisti.

Clarissimus, sicut sol, o Deifer, ad orientem exorsus es, radios emittens confessionis tuae, et magnae fortitudinis atque generosissimae oppugnationis.

Ilium qui ex Matre virinescia apud nos hospitatus est, martyrum primus, in immutabili Patris divinitate stantem et gloria, in coelis contemplatus es

Heri apud nos per car

and miracles and heavenly teaching, thou didst burn the Chair of the impious. They stoned thee to death, and thou didst pray God to forgive them, using thy Jesus' own words, and into his hands commending thy own most saintly spirit, O Stephen!

To the King and Lord of all, who is born on our earth, is offered the beautiful Stephen, not adorned with precious gems, but glittering in the scarlet of his own blood. Come then, ye that love the Martyrs, cull the flowers of song, and wreathe them into hymns passed on from choir to choir. O Protomartyr of Jesus our God! thy spirit beams with wisdom and love; pray for us, that we may receive peace and plentiful mercy.

Thou wast deservedly made an aid to the Apostles of Christ, and thou didst minister to them, O well-named Stephen, as the faithful Deacon. Like Jesus, thou too didst pass through blood.

O man carrying God within thee! thou didst rise in the east like a sun of fairest light, shedding the rays of thy confession, and great fortitude, and most generous resistance.

Thou, the first of Martyrs, didst look up to heaven and see standing in the immutable divinity and glory of the Father, Him that was born of a Virgin-Mother and became a guest among us.

Yesterday, the Master became a guest among us by assuming our flesh; to-day, his servant is unguested from the flesh; he is stoned, and made the Protomartyr, the god-like Stephen.

To-day, there shone a bright star for the Birth of Christ— the Protomartyr Stephen; and all the earth was illumined by his dazzling rays. He confuted all the impiety of the Jews, showing them their errors by words of wisdom, and proving his doctrine by the Scriptures, and showing them that Jesus, who was born of the Virgin, was very Son of God. The Protomartyr, the god-like Stephen, confounded their blasphemous impiety.

Thou art beyond all praise, O Stephen! No tongue can say how honestly was won the laurel-branch thou bearest. No mortal mind can wreathe a Grown "worthy thy great acts.

Thou, most saintly Stephen! wast first of Deacons, and first of Martyrs; for thou didst open the way to the Saints, and hast led the countless Martyrs to their God: therefore did the heavens open over thy head, and God appear unto thee. Pray to him for us, that he save our souls.

nem hospitabatur Dominus, hodie e carne dehospitatur servus; hodie lapidatur famulus, et ideo perficitur Protomartyr divinusque Stephanus.

Stella fulgida hodie in Christi nativitate resplenduit Protomartyr Stepha nus, omnes mundi fines suis illuminans fulgoribus: at Judaeorum omnem extmxit impietatem, sapientiae verbis illos animadvertens et de Scripturisdisserens; illisque suadens natum ex Virgine Jesum ipsum Dei esse Filium; illorum impiam confundit malitiam Protomartyr et divinus Stepha nus.

Laudum, Stephane, omnem superasti modum, et fers ineffabiliter et sine dolo tuas victoriae palmas; non enim potest mens mortalis tuis dignam praeconiis coronam intexere.

Primus in diaconis et primus in martyribus demonstratus es, sanctissime Stephane; iter enim fuisti Sanctis, et multos ad Dominum perduxisti martyres; ideo ccelum tibi apertum est, et Deus tibi apparuit: ipsum deprecare salvare animas nostras.

The Western Churches of the Middle-Ages have left us an almost endless variety of Liturgical compositions, more particularly of Proses and Sequences, in honour of St. Stephen. We have no hesitation in giving our preference to the one composed by Adam of Saint Victor. We shall always think it a duty to bring into notice the works of this great Liturgical Poet, whose compositions were, for a long period, so dear to the faithful in England, France, Germany, and in almost all the Churches of northern Europe.


Heri mundus exsultavit, Et exsultans celebravit Christi natalitia. Heri Chorus Angelorum Prosecutus est coelorum Regem cum laetitia. Protomartyr et Levita Clarus fide, clarus vita, Clarus et miraculis.

Sub hac luce triumphavit Et triumphans insultavit Stephanus incredulis. Fremunt ergo tamquam ferae, Quia victi defuere Lucis adversarii. Falsos testes statuunt, Et linguas exacuunt Viperarum filii. Agonista, nulli cede, Certa, certus de mercede, Persevera, Stephane. Insta falsis testibus, Confuta sermonibus Synagogam Satanae. Testis tuus est in coelis, Testis verax et fidelis, Testis innocentiae.

Nomen habes Coronati: Te tormenta decet pati Pro corona gloriae. Pro corona non marcenti Perfer brevis vim tormenti: Te manet victoria.

Tibi fiet mors Natalis,

Yesterday, the world exulted, and, in its exultation, celebrated the Birth of Jesus.

Yesterday, the Angelic Choir, in great joy, stood round the King of heaven.

The Protomartyr and Deacon Stephen, illustrious for his faith, illustrious for his holy life, illustrious also for his miracles;

On this day triumphed, and, in his triumph, vanquished the unbelieving Jews.

These enemies of the Light rage like savage beasts, at seeing their own defeat.

This brood of vipers bring up false witnesses, and sharpen their tongues.

Flinch not, Combatant! Thou art sure of thy reward: fight and persevere, O Stephen!

Withstand the false witnesses, and confute, by thy answer^ the synagogue of Satan.

Thine own Witness is in heaven, a Witness true and faithful, and he is Witness of thine innocence.

Thy name is The Crowned: it behoves thee to suffer, so to win thy Crown of glory.

For a Crown which is to last for ever, what are torments which last but an hour, and are followed by victory 1

Thy death will be thy Birth; thy last pang will introduce thee into eternal life.

Full of the Holy Ghost, Stephen fixes his gaze on the heavens above:

Seeing there the glory of God, he pushes on to victory, he pants for the crown.

Behold, Stephen! on God's right hand is thy Jesus, and he is fighting for thee.

Boldly tell it to the crowd, that the heavens are opened for thee, and that Jesus shows himself to thee.

Hethen commends his spirit to his Saviour, for whom he deems it sweet to be thus stoned to death.

Saul makes himself guardian of the garments of all that cast the stones: casting thus himself each stone they throw.

But Stephen compassionating their madness, falls on his knees, and prays that this sin be not laid to the charge of his murderers.

Thus did he sleep in Christ, who thus imitated Christ: and now for ever lives with Christ —Stephen, first of Martyrs.

St. Augustine, and common report, assure us, that he raised up six dead men to life, in Africa.

When, through God's mercy, his Relics were discovered, the earth, which was parched by a drought, received a plentiful rain.

The very fragrance that came from his Relics, put diseases and demons to flight. Truly, then, is he worthy of praise, and honour, and eternal remembrance.

Tibi poena tenninalis
Dat vitae primordia.
Plenus Sancto Spiritu,
Penetrat intuitu

Stephanus coelestia.
Videns Dei gloriam,
Crescit ad victoriam,
Suspirat ad praemia.
En a dextris Dei stantem
Jesum pro te dimicantem,
Stephane, considera.
Tibi coelos reserari,
Tibi Christum revelari,
Clama, voce libera.

Se commendat Salvatori Pro quo dulce ducit mori, Sub ipsis lapidibus.

Saulus servat omnium Vestes lapidantium,

Lapidans in omnibus.

Ne peccatum statuatur His a quibus lapidatur, Genu ponit et precatur Condolens insaniae.

In Christo sic obdormivit,

§ui Christo sic obedivit!
t cum Christo semper vivit

Martyrum primitiae.
Quod sex suscitaverit
Mortuos in Africa,
Augustinus asserit,
Fama refert publica.

Hujus, Dei gratia,
Revelato corpore,
Mundo datur pluvia
Siccitatis tempore.

Solo fugat hic odore Morbos et daemonia, Laude dignus et honore Jugique memoria.

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