The Transfer of the Relics of the Holy Protomartyr Stephen from Jerusalem to Constantinople took place about the year 428.
After the holy Protomartyr Archdeacon Stephen was stoned by the Jews, they left his holy body unburied to be devoured by the beasts and birds. After a day and a night the renowned Jewish teacher of the Law, Gamaliel sent people to take up the body of the Protomartyr. Gamaliel buried him on his own property, in his own tomb, not far from Jerusalem.
When Lord's secret disciple Nicodemus died, Gamaliel also buried him near the grave of St Stephen. Afterwards Gamaliel himself, who had been baptized with his son Abibas, was buried near the grave of the Protomartyr Stephen and St Nicodemus.
In the year 415 the relics of the saint were uncovered in a miraculous manner and solemnly transferred to Jerusalem by Bishop John and the bishops Eutonius of Sebaste and Eleutherius of Jericho. From that time healings took place from the relics.
Afterwards, during the reign of holy Emperor Theodosius the Younger (408-450), the relics of the holy Protomartyr Stephen were transferred from Jerusalem to Constantinople and placed in the church of the holy deacon Laurence (August 10). When a church dedicated to the Protomartyr Stephen was built, the relics were transferred there on August 2. St Stephen's right hand is preserved in the Serapionov chamber of the Trinity-Sergius Lavra.
Troparion - Tone 4
Your relics have risen from the depths of the earth,
like a treasury for the immortal life of all of creation.
The Church, rejoicing in the grace that she receives from them,
duteously honors you, Protomartyr Stephen.
Preserve us from error and heresy by your intercession!
Kontakion - Tone 6
You were the first to be sown on the earth by the Heavenly Husbandman, O all-praised one.
You were the first to shed your blood on the earth for Christ, O blessed one.
You were the first to receive the crown of victory from Him in heaven,
Stephen, first of the suffering God-crowned martyrs.