by Catholic.org | Source: Catholic.net
name means "crown," and he was the first disciple of Jesus to receive the martyr's crown. Stephen
was a deacon in the early Christian Church. The apostles had found that they needed helpers to look
after the care of the widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons, and Stephen is the most
famous of these.
God worked many miracles through St. Stephen and he spoke with such wisdom and grace that
many of his hearers became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to
see how successful Stephen's preaching was. At last, they laid a plot for him. They could not answer
his wise argument, so they got men to lie about him, saying that he had spoken sinfully against God.
St. Stephen faced that great assembly of enemies without fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his
face looked like the face of an angel.
The saint spoke about Jesus, showing that He is the Savior, God had
promised to send. He scolded his enemies for not having believed in Jesus. At that, they rose up in
great anger and shouted at him. But Stephen looked up to Heaven and said that he saw the heavens
opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God.
His hearers plugged their ears and refused to
listen to another word. They dragged St. Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to
death. The saint prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" Then he fell to his knees and begged God
not to punish his enemies for killing him.
After such an expression of love, the holy martyr went to his heavenly
reward. His feast day is December 26th.