Romanian Orthodox believers celebrated the Saint Stephen’s Day on Monday, a day later than Western Christians.
Some 500,000 Romanians are named after the saint whose feast day is traditionally the second feast of Christmastide.
Saint Stephen was one of the first Christian martyrs who was stoned to death in 36 AD.
He was accused of preaching the teachings of Jesus, and after his arrest he was tried by the high priest Caiaphas, who also condemned Christ to death.
There is a belief that he helps the sick and those who are involved in long-standing legal problems. According to tradition, people who are in a conflict should reconcile on St. Stephen’s Day.
Eastern Christian churches that follow the Julian calendar, such as Romania, celebrate his life on December 27 which is a day later than Catholic and Protestant churches.
Romania celebrates Christmas on December 25 unlike some other Orthodox Christian countries. The Feast of St Stephen is considered the third day of Christmas.
There are half a million Romanians named Stefan, Stefania and variations of the name, according to the interior ministry.
St Stephen’s Day is an official public holiday in many places such as Austria, Bosnia, Croatia, Finland, Bulgaria, Germany and Poland.
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