SAINT STEPHEN OF SOUROZH
St Stephen the Confessor, Archbishop of Sourozh, was a native of Cappadocia and was educated at Constantinople.
Having taken monastic vows, he withdrew into the wilderness, where he passed the time for 30 years in ascetic deeds. Patriarch Germanos, through some particular revelation, ordained him bishop of the city of Sourozh (presently the city of Sudak in the Crimea). Under the iconoclast emperor Leo III the Isaurian (716-741), St Stephen underwent tortures and imprisonment in Constantinople, from which he emerged after the death of the emperor. Already quite advanced in years, he returned to his flock in Sourozh, where he died.
There is preserved an account of how, at the beginning of the ninth century, during the time of a campaign into the Crimea, and influenced by miracles at the crypt of the saint, the Russian prince Bravlin accepted Baptism.
The icon of St Stephen in the diocesan cathedral of the Mother of God and All Saints (icon pictured at right) contains a relic of St Stephen, which was rescued from destruction by believers in Russia during the years of persecution and was sent by them as a gift to our diocese.