On this day Stephen, the Apostle, Archdeacon and Protomartyr, became a martyr. This holy man, as the Book of the Acts of the Apostles testifies, was full of grace, and of the Holy Spirit, and of power, and he used to perform signs and miracles among the people. And the Jews were envious of him, and they seized him and brought him into their synagogue, and they said, “We found him blaspheming God and Moses, and saying that Jesus shall change the Law of Moses, and shall overthrow this holy place.” And those who were sitting round in the Sanhedrin looked at the face of the blessed Stephen, and saw that it was like the face of an angel of God. And they said unto him, “Is this thing true which is said about you?”
And the saint answered and said to them in a loud voice, “Hear O our fathers and brethren. The God of praise appeared unto our father Abraham in the country between the rivers (Mesopotamia), before he had left Harran, and He said unto him, Get yourself out from your country and from your kindred, and come into the land which I will show you; and he left from Harran as God commanded.” And again God commanded him to speak, and then Stephen talked to them about the birth of Isaac, and concerning Jacob and his sons, how they sold Joseph, and how Joseph knew his brethren when he was chief. And Saint Stephen talked with them until [he came to] the building of the sanctuary.
And then he lifted up his voice and said unto them, “O you stiff-necked men, you dense of heart, at all time do you resist the Holy Spirit, even as did your fathers who persecuted the prophets who prophesied, and who preached concerning Christ, Who you killed, and Who has risen from the dead.” And when they heard this they gnashed their teeth upon him. And Saint Stephen being full of faith, and of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven, and he saw the glory of God, and Jesus Christ at the right hand of God His Father, and he said unto them, “Behold, I see heaven open, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God His Father.”
And when they heard [this] they shut their ears, and took him that they might stone him with stones, and they deposited their apparel with Saul, that is to say Paul. And they took Stephen outside the city, and stoned him, and he prayed to God on their behalf, and he knelt down on his knees and said, “Receive my soul unto Yourself, O God.” And he said, “Let not this sin be reckoned unto them”; and he was like unto his Lord. And when he had said this he died, and certain believing men came and carried away the body of the saint, and they lamented for him with a great lamentation, and buried him.
Salutation to Stephen.
Glory to God Who is glorified in His Saints!