Scripture Verse

While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Then he fell on his knees and cried out, Lord, do not hold this sin against them. When he had said this, he fell asleep. Acts 7:59–60


Words: Chris­to­pher Words­worth, The Ho­ly Year (Lon­don: Riv­ing­tons, 1863), num­ber 9. St. Ste­phen’s Day.

Music: Ter Sanc­tus Ros­tockerhandbok­en, 1529 (🔊 pdf nwc).

The hymn had the fol­lowing foot­note re­gard­ing the phrase Sacr­ed Way in the first stan­za:

As the Via Sac­ra or Sac­red Way at Rome was the road on which the Tri­um­phal Pro­ces­sions passed to the Ca­pi­tol and as the Via Sac­ra at Ath­ens was the road which led to the Tem­ple at Eleu­sis, and to those Mys­ter­ies in which ev­en the Hea­then en­dea­voured to dis­play the bliss of an­ot­her world.

Christopher Wordsworth (1807–1885)


To all the saints of God on earth;
Their death day is their day of birth
Death is their door of life, the Sac­red Way
By which they pass to realms of end­less day.

And whence do all the saints de­rive
The life by which through death they live?
From God made flesh; on Him their vir­tues grow.
He is the fount from which their grac­es flow.

We sang to God on yes­ter­morn,
When Je­sus Christ for us was born;
And from His birth the saints their birth­days date;
And in the saints their Lord we ce­le­brate.

Today the first of mar­tyrs dies,
And dy­ing en­ters pa­ra­dise;
Foes rage against him; but what gleams of grace
Angelic shine on his trans­fig­ured face!

While storms of stones around him fly,
His soul is an­chored in the sky;
I see Heav’n op­ened, and at God’s right hand
The Son of Man,
he cries, in glo­ry stand.

Jesu, re­ceive my soul, he says.
Kneels down, and then more loud­ly prays,
Lord, do not this their sin in me­mo­ry keep
And when he thus had said, he fell asleep.

Lord, when we suf­fer here for Thee,
Grant us Thy glo­ri­ous face to see,
And on the spir­it’s wings of faith and love
Waft us from earth to light and life above.

Praises to God the Fa­ther give,
And to the Son in whom we live;
And praise to God the Ho­ly Spir­it be,
One ev­er­last­ing God, and Per­sons Three.