Epistle Reading: Acts 6:8-15,7:1-5,47-60
And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and
signs among the people.
Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the
Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia),
disputing with Stephen.
And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by
which he spoke.
Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak
blasphemous words against Moses and God."
And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes;
and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council.
They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not
cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law;
"for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will
destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us."
And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw
his face as the face of an angel.
Then the high priest said, "Are these things so?"
And he said, "Men and brethren and fathers, listen: The God of
glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he
dwelt in Haran,
"and said to him, 'Get out of your country and from your
relatives, and come to a land that I will show you.'
"Then he came out of the land of the Chaldeans and dwelt in
Haran. And from there, when his father was dead, He moved him to this land
in which you now dwell.
"And God gave him no inheritance in it, not even enough to set
his foot on. But even when Abraham had no child, He promised to give it to
him for a possession, and to his descendants after him.
"But Solomon built Him a house.
"However, the Most High does not dwell in temples made with
hands, as the prophet says:
'Heaven is My throne, and earth is My footstool. What house
will you build for Me? says the LORD, or what is the place of My rest?
Has My hand not made all these things?'
"You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You
always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.
"Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And
they killed those who foretold the coming of the Just One, of whom you now
have become the betrayers and murderers,
"who have received the law by the direction of angels and have
not kept it."
When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and
they gnashed at him with their teeth.
But he, being full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and
saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God,
and said, "Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man
standing at the right hand of God!"
Then they cried out with a loud voice, stopped their ears, and
ran at him with one accord;
and they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the
witnesses laid down their clothes at the feet of a young man named Saul.
And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, "
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit."
Then he knelt down and cried out with a loud voice, "Lord, do
not charge them with this sin." And when he had said this, he fell asleep.
Gospel Reading: Matthew 21:33-42
"Hear another parable: There was a certain landowner who
planted a vineyard and set a hedge around it, dug a winepress in it and
built a tower. And he leased it to vinedressers and went into a far country.
"Now when vintage-time drew near, he sent his servants to
the vinedressers, that they might receive its fruit.
"And the vinedressers took his servants, beat one, killed
one, and stoned another.
"Again he sent other servants, more than the first, and
they did likewise to them.
"Then last of all he sent his son to them, saying, 'They
will respect my son.'
"But when the vinedressers saw the son, they said among
themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let us kill him and seize his
"And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard,
and killed him.
"Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes, what
will he do to those vinedressers?"
They said to Him, "He will destroy those wicked men
miserably, and lease his vineyard to other vinedressers who will render to
him the fruits in their seasons."
Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures: '
The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?
Saints and Feasts
Stephen, Archdeacon & First Martyr; Theodore the Confessor; Brothers Theophanes and Poietus; Afterfeast of the Nativity