Ordinary Time: August 3rd
Friday of the Seventeenth Week of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: Finding of the Body of St. Stephen, the first martyr (Hist); St. Lydia (Hist)
Historically today is the feast of the Finding of the Body of St. Stephen, the first martyr. His body was discovered in 415 just outside Jerusalem. It was translated to Constantinople in 439 by the Empress Eudoxia, but part of the remains were taken to Rome to the Church of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls where they lie beside those of the great Roman deacon.It is also the feast of St. Lydia, a native of Thyatira, a city in Asia Minor famous for its dye-works, whence Lydia's trade — purple seller. She was at Philippi in Macedonia when she became St. Paul's first convert in Europe and afterward his hostess.
The Finding of the Body of St. Stephen
The second festival in honor of the holy protomartyr St. Stephen was instituted by the Church on the occasion of the discovery of his precious remains. His body lay long concealed, under the ruins of an old tomb, in a place twenty miles from Jerusalem, called Caphargamala, where stood a church which was served by a venerable priest named Lucian.
- Read the Golden Legend account of the Finding of St. Stephen's body.
Saint Lydia was born during the first century in Thyatira, a town famous for its dye works in Asia Minor, famous for its dye works, (hence, her name which means purple seller). She was a seller of purple dye and was St. Paul's first convert at Philippi. The following is from the Acts of the Apostles:
And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, did hear: whose heart the Lord opened to attend to those things which were said by Paul. And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying: If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us (Acts 16:14-15).
She was baptized with her household. Thereafter, Paul made his home with her while in Philippi.Lydia was a woman of hospitality, a woman of faith. As a successful businesswoman she most likely had a home spacious enough to welcome guests and to use her home as a Christian center, where others would gather for the Holy Mass and prayer. After Paul and Silas were released from prison, they went immediately to Lydia’s house to see and encourage the believers gathered there. Lydia served the Lord through her gift of hospitality by welcoming others into her home.— Excerpted from Catholic Fire