St Stephen, whose feast day the Armenian Apostolic Church celebrated last Sunday 24 December 2023, is known as the “Protomartyr,” the first Christian to die for their belief in Jesus Christ. St Stephen was the first Deacon who was ordained to serve at the Eucharistic meal. Full of grace and the power of God, St Stephen performed wonders and miracles that were seen by the Jews as a blasphemous act. He was tried before the Council of Elders and condemned to death by stoning.
Last Sunday, Holy Mass was celebrated by Archpriest Father Norayr Patanian, 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