by St. Nicholas Cabasilas
from The Life in Christ, translated by Carmino J. deCatanzaro, St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1974, pp. 57-58.
It is not possible for those who have not died to sin to live for God. So it is of God alone to be able to slay sin. For men it was necessary, for had we been defeated against our will we should have been worthy of retrieving our defeat; but for those who had become slaves of sin it was in no way possible. How should we have been able to prevail over that to which we had become slaves? Even had we been more powerful, yet "the slave is not greater than the master" (Mt. 10:24).
It was man, then, who by rights should have attained this end and for whom it was fit to win the victory; but he had become enslaved by those whom he should have conquered in battle. God, however, who was indebted to no one, had the power to do these things. Therefore, as long as neither God nor man undertook the battle, sin lived on. It was impossible for the sun of the true life to rise on us, since it was man who should wrest the victory for himself but only God who was able to do so. It was necessary, therefore, for manhood to be joined to Deity, and for one and the same to possess the nature of both him to whom the warfare pertained and of Him who was able to prevail in it.
It is this, then, that comes about. God makes His own the struggle on behalf of the human race, for He becomes man. Man, being pure from all sin, overcomes sin, for He is God. In this way human nature is cleared of disgrace and, now that sin has fallen, puts on the crowns of victory.
Monkmartyr and Confessor Stephen the New
Trained in asceticism on the mountain, with the weapon of the Cross you destroyed the spiritual assaults of the hostile powers, all-blessed one; Again you bravely prepared for combat and slew Copronymus with the sword of faith; for both struggles you have been crowned by God, monk-martyr Stephen of eternal memory.
Kontakion of St. Stephen the New - Tone 8
Lovers of the feasts, from the heart with hymns let us praise in faith godlike Stephen the lover of the Trinity, for he honored the fair icon icon of the Master and of His Mother. Now let us rejoice together and cry out to him with love: "Rejoice, ever glorious Father."