Venerable Stephen, Abbot of Khenolakkos Monastery, near Chalcedon

Saint Stephen lived during the eighth century, and was born into a family in Cappadocia, who raised him in great piety. As he reached maturity, he was greatly impressed by reading the lives of the holy ascetics, and so he visited many monasteries in Palestine in order to observe their way of life. In the wilderness he visited the monasteries of Saints Euthymios the Great (January 20), Savva the Sanctified (December 5) and Theodosios the Great (January 11), studying the Rule (Typikon) of each monastery.

Later, during the reign of the iconoclast Emperor Leo the Isaurian (717-741), he visited Constantinople. The holy Patriarch Germanos (May 12) had a high regard for Stephen, and aided him in building a monastery in Bithynia in which he could establish a monastic Rule based on the great lessons that he had learned in the course of his many years of experience. Saint Stephen founded the Monastery of Khenolakkos [“by the goose-pond”], which was northeast of Triglia (near Moudania in Asia Minor). Many monks were drawn there by reports of his virtue.

Saint Stephen was distinguished for his paternal administration of the monastery, and for his moral influence on the monks. After many years as the Superior of the monastery, the holy ascetic foresaw his own death. When he fell asleep in the Lord, some of the brethren were found worthy to behold the glorious departure of his soul into Heaven, escorted by angels.