Deacons, take note! Fascinating stuff, via Gregory DiPippo at the New Liturgical Movement:
Today [August 3] is traditionally celebrated as the feast of the Finding of St Stephen the First Martyr. This took place in the year 415, when the teacher of St Paul, Gamaliel, who is named twice in the Acts of the Apostles (5, 34-40 and 22, 3) appeared in a vision to a priest of Jerusalem named Lucian, on three successive Fridays, and named the location of the burial. Gamaliel further revealed that he himself had taken charge of Stephen’s body after his martyrdom, and buried him on his property near a village that bore his name, Caphargamala; and that he himself was later buried in the same place, along with his son Abibas, and Nicodemus, who is mentioned in three places in the Gospel of John. (“Abibas” is the Hellenized form of the name “Habib”, which means “beloved” and is very common in Semitic languages.)Gamaliel ordered Lucian to tell what he had seen in these visions to bishop John of Jerusalem, who then sent the latter to investigate the site. In due course, the graves were discovered, with inscriptions to confirm the identity of the persons buried therein. John was then attending a synod at Lydda (the places of St George’s martyrdom); on receiving word of the discovery from Lucian, he hastened to the site, attended by two other bishops and a large multitude of people. When the coffin of St Stephen was opened, the ground shook, and “an odor of such sweetness and fragrance came forth therefrom, … such that (those present) thought they were in the delight of Paradise”; seventy-three persons were healed of possession and a great variety of physical ailments. The relics were then translated to a church on Mt Sion, which Lucian’s letter, the first source for this story, anachronistically describes as the place “where Stephen was ordained as archdeacon.”
From there, portions of the relics were subsequently sent out to many other places, as attested inter alia by a sermon of St Augustine…
Read on to learn more.
St. Stephen, pray for us!