ICC Note: December 26 is St. Stephen’s Day–a Christian feast largely forgotten on the modern calendar. But now it is more important than ever. St. Stephen was the first martyr and now, in the homeland of Stephen himself, Christian martyrs are increasing with religious genocide and persecution. We now live in a new age of Christian martyrs.
12/27/2016 Middle East (Fox News): The second line of the Christmas carol slips past us. We hear “Good King Wenceslas looked out…” But what about the next bit, “…on the Feast of Stephen?” What’s that about?
December 26th is St. Stephen’s Day—the Feast of Stephen—long an important celebration in the Christian calendar and now largely ignored. It’s time to bring it back.
Stephen was the first Christian martyr, the protomartyr, stoned to death in the years of persecution that followed the death of Jesus. In the Acts of the Apostles, Chapters Six to Eight, we learn that Stephen was “a man full of faith,” appointed to oversee the care of neglected widows. Stephen took on the established authorities, corrupt in deed and belief, and they could not refute his arguments.
So, in timeless human fashion, the powers-that-were bribed witnesses against him. At the climax of his trial, knowing he was doomed, Stephen declared, “I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
Out came the rocks.
What has this to do with us, as the Year of Our Lord 2017 approaches? To believing Christians, the answer might be “Everything.”
The 2,000-year-old Middle-Eastern Christian civilization that began in the days of St. Stephen lies in ruins, persecuted as never before. As the Obama administration averted its self-righteous gaze, a religious genocide already underway accelerated across the region. Stubborn and dogmatic, the administration refused to acknowledge the problem of Christian refugees—those who’d survived the kidnappings, tortures, rapes, massacres and broad religious cleansing—even to the extent of labeling those who wished to help Christians as bigots.
In Obama’s global village, there’s no room at the inn for Christian refugees. There’s not even a stable.