Today January 8th (Sunday) is the commemoration of the dhukrono of St. Stephen the Protomartyr according to the Liturgical Calendar of the Syriac Orthodox Church.
Mor Stephanos was a Jew living in the Hellenic provinces, related to the Apostle Paul and one of the first seven deacons ordained by the Apostles to serve the Church in Jerusalem (thus making him an archdeacon).
In the words of Asterias,:St Stephen was “the starting point of the martyrs, the instructore of suffering for Christ, the foundation of righteous confession, since Stephen was the first to shed his blood for the Gospel.”
The Holy Spirit worked powerfully through his faith, enabling him to perform many miracles and always defeat the Jews who would dispute with him.
In the Liturgy of the Syriac Orthodox Church, St. Stephen’s day is a special day where a full-deacon is also allowed to read the Evengalion (The Holy Gospel) during the Holy Qurbana or Prayers.