Archdeacon Stephen the Protomartyr (34)
Venerable Theodore the Branded (Theodore Graptus), of Palestine and Bithynia, Confessor (840)
Martyrs Maurice, with his son Photinus, and 70 soldiers, at Apamea (286-305)
Venerable Luke, Abbot of the Monastery of the Deep Stream in Triglia, in Bithynia.
Saint Fabiola, a patrician in Rome who gave up all earthly pleasures and devoted herself to the practice of Christian asceticism and charitable work (399)
Repose of Helen Ivanovna Motovilova (1910)
Commemorated on December 27
The 20,000 Martyrs of Nicomedia (302)
Venerable Babylas of Tarsus in Cilicia.
Saint Simon the Myrrh-gusher, founder of Simonopetra, Mt. Athos (1287)
Saint Ignatius, Monk, of Loma (Vologda) (1591
Commemorated on December 28
Hymn of Praise
The Holy Protomartyr Stephen the Archdeacon
by Saint Nikolai Velimirovic
Upon Stephen, illumined by the Spirit,
The Jewish murderers rushed.
Bloody Stephen knelt
And in a loud voice cried out to God:
“O Lord, Who from the Cross forgave
The greatest sin to ever shake the earth,
The greatest sin that heaven ever beheld,
Thou forgavest Thy murderers.
Now, O Most-gracious One, forgive mine also!
This crime-what is it compared to that one?
And I, what am I, compared to my Lord?”
Saying this he gave his spirit to God.
The angry elders, ugly cowards,
Dispersed after they killed him.
Then from heaven angels flew down
Around the body of the Protomartyr.
They chanted a hymn in chorus to him
And carried his paradisal soul to Paradise.
The Prologue From Ohrid · Lives of Saints, Hymns. By Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich.
The prophetic letter of St. Seraphim for to St.Tsar Martyr Nicholas II of Russia
Mode 4. Come quickly.
O Stephen, a crown of royalty was laid on your head for contests you courageously endured for Christ our God, as first among Martyr saints. You stood in accusation of the raging Judeans; and you saw your Savior at the right hand of the Father. We pray that you will ever entreat Him to save our souls.
Acts 6:8-15; 7:1-5, 47-60
In those days, Stephen, full of grace and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then some of those who belonged to the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called), and of the Cyrenians, and of the Alexandrians, and of those from Cilicia and Asia, arose and disputed with Stephen. But they could not withstand the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke. Then they secretly instigated men, who said, “We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.” And they stirred up the people and the elders and the scribes, and they came upon him and seized him and brought him before the council, and set up false witnesses who said, “This man never ceases to speak words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place, and will change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” And gazing at him, all who sat in the council saw that his face was like the face of an angel. And the high priest said, “Is this so?” And Stephen said: “Brethren and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham, when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran, and said to him, ‘Depart from your land and from your kindred and go into the land which I will show you.’ Then he departed from the land of the Chaldeans, and lived in Haran. And after his father died, God removed him from there into this land in which you are now living; yet he gave him no inheritance in it, not even a foot’s length, but promised to give it to him in possession and to his posterity after him, though he had no child. But it was Solomon who built a house for him. Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made with hands; as the prophet says, ‘Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool. What house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’ You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth against him. But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together upon him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him; and the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” And he knelt down and cried with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep.