Stephen, Protomartyr and Archdeacon, Apostle of the Seventy

Dates of commemoration

Jan 09
(Church calendar - Dec 27)
Jan 17
(Church calendar - Jan 04) Synaxis of the Seventy Apostles
Aug 15
(Church calendar - Aug 2) Translation of relics
Sep 28
(Church calendar - Sep 15) Uncovering of relics


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, Saint Stephen preached Christianity and defeated Jewish teachers of the Law in debate. The Jews maligned Saint Stephen, saying that he had uttered blasphemy against God and against Moses. Saint 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, Saint 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 Saint 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.

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


Holy relic type

unless specified otherwise below, "holy relic" means a fragment of a bone of the saint

Stone from the site of the martyrdom of Protomartyr Stephen

Location of the holy relic in the Cathedral:

North kliros, reliquary #3



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!


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.

Address of our Cathedral

  • 4001 17th St. N.W.,
  • Washington, D.C., 20011

Phone  (202) 726-3000




Go to top