Icon of St. Stephen of Perm - (1ST25)

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St. Stephen of Perm (+1396)

Commemorated on April 26

St. Stephen is believed to have been born in Ustiug (Russia) in about 1340 into a family of the clergy of the Ustiug cathedral. From an early age, he demonstrated great abilities and love for the services of the Church, and he entered the monastery of St. Gregory the Theologian in Rostov. There he used the extensive library to further his knowledge of Christianity, particularly studying the Holy Scriptures and the Greek language. Having lived with the pagan Zyrian people, he became inspired to bring them to Christ and so he formulated a Syrian (Permic) alphabet because he wanted to bring Christ to them in their own language.

In 1379 with the blessing of Bishop Gerasimus of Kolomna, St. Stephen began his mission among the Zariane people where he worked for the next 17 years.  With the growing number of converts, he built churches and schools, where students were prepared to become deacons and priests using his alphabet to read and write.   

St. Stephen always kept the interests of his flock at the forefront of his activities.  He traveled to Moscow in 1396 concerning the affairs of the Zyrainians where he became ill and reposed on April 26, 1396. His body was kept in Moscow and buried in the Kremlin either in the Church of the Transfiguration or the Spass na Boru Church of the Savior at the Forest.    

More information about this saint can be found here.