12.26.2008

St Stephen's Day

Today is the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Martyr - who was tried by the Sanhedrin and stoned to death outside the Lion Gate of Jerusalem.

Because Stephen is the deacon usually represented on the iconostasis in Orthodox churches, there are many images of him.

This mosaic from St. Sophia in Kiev dates to ca. 1108-1113 and is interesting for showing the spread of Byzantine art. It is currently in the Byzantium exhibition at the Royal Academy in London.

St. Stephen's Day - also known as Boxing Day - is a public holiday in the UK and celebrated in the West today; in the East tomorrow. There are also Feasts to celebrate the 'discovery' and transfer of his relics in AD 415; in Rome on the 3rd August, and Constantinople 2nd August. As with so many saints, both cities as well as many others claim to have him ...

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