Saint Stephen's Day: Over 243,000 Bulgarians Celebrate their Name Day
Today, on the third day of the Nativity of Christ, the Orthodox Church honors Saint First Martyr and Archdeacon Stephen - the first Christian who was martyred in the name of Christ. He was stoned to death in the year 37 A.D.
In the folk tradition, St. Stephen's Day is the last holiday of the year, which "closes" the Christmas cycle. More than 243,000 Bulgarians celebrate their name day.
Saint Stephen was the head of the deacons chosen by the apostles to care for the growing Christian community in Jerusalem after Pentecost when the Church was founded.
He defended his faith in a dispute with the Jewish leaders. They dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death. His last words were: "Lord, do not impute this sin to them."
"He shed his blood for the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he is glorified by the Holy Church as the first martyr for the faith and as such he is honored by the whole Christian world. We know that he is one of the beloved, known saints in all corners of the world and one of the quick helpers of all who call upon him. Today, we ask for his intercession and intercession before God, so that through his prayers, God bestows his great mercy on us," said Metropolitan Gregory of Vratsa.
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