On December 27 the Greek Orthodox Church celebrates the Feast Day of Agios Stefanos.
Saint Stephen was the first of the seven deacons whom the Apostles ordained to serve the Church in Jerusalem. Being filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, he worked miracles and wonders among the people.
Disputing with the Jews concerning Jesus, St Stephen was falsely accused of blasphemy and was brought before the high priest’s council, Sanhendrin.
Gazing into Heaven and inspired by the spirit that Christ had promised to His disciples in such an event, the Saint said “Lord, I see the Heavens opened and the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.” The inspired words filled the Saint’s heart and made it heavenly, spreading over his body, and illumining his face with a divine light.
Unable to bear this revelation, the Jews blocked their ears and with anger, took St Stephen out of the city and stoned him, while he was calling out “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.”
Saint Stephen was the first to take the path to Heaven that Christ opened by His Passion, and the first to become a martyr. His voluntary death for the Truth opened Paradise to him and enabled him to see the glory of God.
Today is also the Name day of Stefanos, Stefania, Mavrikos and Mavrikia.