The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates today Sts. Pontiff of Rome St. Stepannos, the Priests, the Deacons and the people, the official website of Araratian Patriarchal Diocese reports.
The Pontiff of Rome St. Stepannos (Stephen) was born in Rome. He was the Bishop of Rome since 254 AD. He has been the deacon of the martyred Pope of Rome Lukianos and after the Popes’ death has been his successor. According to the Armenian collection book “Haysmavourk”, St. Stepannos has been a courageous and zealous Pontiff leading his flock, encouraging the faithful during the persecutions and exhorting them to remain loyal to their faith.
He has converted many heathens to Christianity, and among the converted were the Prince Nemesios and his blind daughter. After the latters’ baptism the daughter of the Prince Nemesios becomes able to see, and the prince, witnessing that miracle, asks the Pontiff to ordain him as a deacon. Becoming aware of that fact, the King calls the Prince to him and orders him to offer sacrifice to the idols. But the Prince refuses, and for the refusal he is martyred together with his daughter. Another Prince and his servants, who also were pious Christians, are martyred. According to “Haysmavourk”, 12 clergymen are subjected to torments and are martyred, and the memory of those blessed clergy is commemorated with the memory of the Pontiff St. Stepannos.
Once, when the Pontiff St. Stepannos was celebrating a Divine Liturgy, the soldiers surround the Church and wish to break the door. At that time the Pontiff was giving Holy Communion to the faithful in attendance. After his taking the Holy Communion the soldiers rush in and kill the Pontiff in 257 AD.