When the wicked Jews slew St. Stephen by stoning, they left his body for the dogs to consume. However, God’s Providence intended otherwise. The martyr’s body lay in an open place at the foothill of the city for one night and two days. The second night Gamaliel, Paul’s teacher and secretly a disciple of Christ, came and removed the body and took it to Caphargamala on his estate and there he honorably buried it in a cave. Gamaliel also buried his friend Nicodemus who died weeping over the grave of Stephen in the same cave. Gamaliel also buried his baptized son Abibus there and according to his will, was buried there also. Since that time, many centuries passed and no one living knew where the body of St. Stephen was buried. However, in the year 415 A.D. during the reign of John, the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Gamaliel appeared three times in a dream to Lucian, the priest at Caphargamala and, at length, related everything to him concerning the burial of all the afore-mentioned showing him the exact spot of their forgotten graves. Excited by this dream Lucian informed the patriarch and with his blessing went with a group of men and exhumed the four graves. Gamaliel had already told him in the dream whose grave was which. A strong sweet-smelling fragrance from the relics of the saints permeated the entire cave. The relics of St. Stephen were then solemnly translated to Zion and honorably buried there and the relics of the remaining three were moved to a hill above the cave and were placed in a church. That day, many healings of the sick occurred by the relics of St. Stephen. Later on, St. Stephen’s relics were translated to Constantinople. Thus the Lord crowned him with much glory who, for His Name, shed his blood.
Feast Day: August 2
Part of the holy Skull of Saint Stephen the Protomartyr, treasured by the Holy Monastery of Vatopedi, Mount Athos
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovich (The Prologue from Ohrid)