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Death: ~760


A native of Borisabos, Cappadocia (eastern Turkey), Stephen was consecrated bishop of Surosh (Sudak), on the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine. The Byzantine emperor Leo III (717-741), an adherent of the iconoclastic heresy that condemned the use of religious images, exiled Stephen for defending the Church’s teaching regarding the veneration of these holy objects. Leo’s successor Constantine V (741-775) reversed his predecessor’s iconoclastic policies and restored Stephen to his see. Thereafter Stephen journeyed out from Surosh to evangelize the Slavs, Khazars, and Varangians with great success. An attack force of Varango-Russians that had come to plunder the Crimean peninsula are said to have fled upon seeing the holy bishop, an incident that precipitated the conversion of the raiders’ commander, Yury. Stephen has come to be recognized by both the Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church as a key figure in the history of Christianity in Russia.


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