On Sunday 24 December 2017, in commemoration of St Stephen the Protodeacon and first martyr of the Christian church, Holy Mass was celebrated in the Church of Holy Resurrection followed by a service dedicated to the blessing of deacons in which the deacons and priests participated adorned with ceremonial headdress (saghavard).

In the eucharistic celebration on this feast day, it is traditional for all deacons serving at the altar to wear a liturgical crown, which is one of the vestments worn only by priests on all other days of the year, the crown being in this instance a symbol of martyrdom

In the Armenian Apostolic Church, St. Stephen’s day falls on December 25 – the day on which the feast of the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) falls in all other churches. This is because the Armenian churches maintain the decree of Constantine, which stipulated that the Nativity and Theophany of Jesus were to be celebrated on January 6.

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