Christmastide (5): The Feast of Stephen

I have already written about St. Stephen the first or protomartyr, but I’d be remiss if I failed to mention his perhaps most recognizable entry into the cultural canon, which is his feast day’s reference in the English carol “Good King Wenceslas”:


Sheet Music from Henry Ramsden Bramley and John Stainer, Christmas Carols New and Old, First Series (London: Novello, Ewer & Co., 1871), Carol #10.

The only thing to add is that the good Christian monarch borrows from the feast’s name the martyr’s vocation, that is, to serve the Lord through the care of the poor (see Acts 6. 2-3), as well as a share in the martyr’s death as he was murdered attending the feast of Saints Cosmas and Damian (26 September).

Christmastide (5): The Feast of Stephen