Category Archives: Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day

Third Day of the Nativity of our Lord – Protomartyr St Stephen


third day nativityCommemorated on December 27

 

The third day of the Nativity is dedicated to the Protomartyr St Stephen. This is the third day of the three day Winter Pascha.

Troparion — Tone 4

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, / Has shone to the world the Light of wisdom! / For by it, those who worshipped the stars, / Were taught by a Star to adore You, / The Sun of Righteousness, / And to know You, the Orient from on High. / O Lord, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 3

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, / And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! / Angels with shepherds glorify Him! / The wise men journey with a star! / Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!

STEPHENTroparion — Tone 4

Protomartyr and mighty warrior of Christ our God, / you were victorious in battle and crowned with glory, holy Stephen. / You confounded the council of those who persecuted you, / beholding your Savior enthroned at the Father’s right hand. / Never cease praying that our souls may be saved!

Kontakion — Tone 3

Podoben: “Today the Virgin…” / Yesterday the Master appeared in the flesh among us, / today His servant departs from the flesh. / Yesterday the King was born, / and today His servant is stoned to death; / for His sake, the divine Protomartyr Stephen is perfected through martyrdom.

The Holy Protomartyr and Archdeacon Stephen was the eldest of the seven deacons, appointed by the Apostles themselves, and therefore he is called “archdeacon.” He was the first Christian martyr, and he suffered for Christ when he was about thirty. In the words of Asterias, he was “the starting point of the martyrs, the instructor of suffering for Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, since Stephen was the first to shed his blood for the Gospel.”

Filled with the Holy Spirit, St Stephen preached Christianity and defeated Jewish teachers of the Law in debate. The Jews maligned St Stephen, saying that he had uttered blasphemy against God and against Moses. St Stephen came before the Sanhedrin and the High Priest to answer these charges. He gave a fiery speech, in which he recounted the history of the Jewish nation, and denounced the Jews for persecuting the prophets, and also for executing the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ (Acts ch. 7).

During his speech, St Stephen suddenly saw the heavens opened and Jesus Christ standing at the right hand of God. The Jews shouted and covered their ears, and rushed at him. They dragged him out of the city and stoned him, but the holy martyr prayed for his murderers. Far off on the heights stood the Mother of God with the holy Apostle John the Theologian, and She prayed fervently for the martyr. Before his death St Stephen said, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. O Lord, lay not this sin to their charge.” Then he joyfully gave up his pure soul to Christ.

The body of the holy Protomartyr Stephen, left to be eaten by beasts, was secretly taken up by the Jewish teacher Gamaliel and his son Habib, who buried Stephen on his estate. They both believed in Christ, and later received holy Baptism.

St Stephen is also commemorated on August 2 (Translation of his relics) and on September 15 (Uncovering of his relics in the year 415).

Second Day of the Nativity of our Lord -The Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos

 

second nativityCommemorated on December 26

Troparion — Tone 4

Your Nativity, O Christ our God, / Has shone to the world the Light of wisdom! / For by it, those who worshipped the stars, / Were taught by a Star to adore You, / The Sun of Righteousness, / And to know You, the Orient from on High. / O Lord, glory to You!

Kontakion — Tone 3

Today the Virgin gives birth to the Transcendent One, / And the earth offers a cave to the Unapproachable One! / Angels with shepherds glorify Him! / The wise men journey with a star! / Since for our sake the Eternal God was born as a Little Child!

The Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos

Synaxis of the Most Holy Mother of God

 

: On the second day of the feast, the Synaxis of the Most Holy Theotokos is celebrated. Combining the hymns of the Nativity with those celebrating the Mother of God, the Church points to Mary as the one through whom the Incarnation was made possible. His humanity—concretely and historically—is the humanity He received from Mary. His body is, first of all, her body. His life is her life. This feast, the assembly in honor of the Theotokos, is probably the most ancient feast of Mary in the Christian tradition, the very beginning of her veneration by the Church.

Six days of post-feast bring the Christmas season to a close on December 31. At the services of all these days, the Church repeats the hymns and songs glorifying Christ’s Incarnation, reminding us that the source and foundation of our salvation is only to be found in the One who, as God before the ages, came into this world and for our sake was “born as a little Child.”