Feast Day: December 26
Born :(around the time of Jesus) :: Died: (around 33)
Stephen's name means crown. He was the first disciple who died for his faith in Jesus. As chapters 6 and 7 of the Acts of the Apostles tells us, Stephen was chosen as a deacon in the early Church.
Peter and the apostles had found that they needed helpers to look after the care of widows and the poor. So they ordained seven deacons and Stephen is the most famous of these.
God worked many miracles through St. Stephen. He spoke with such wisdom and grace that many people who heard him, became followers of Jesus. The enemies of the Church of Jesus were furious to see how successful St. Stephen's preaching was.
They could not answer his wise arguments, so they laid a plot and got men to lie about him. These men said that he had spoken sinfully against God. St. Stephen faced that great gathering of enemies without any fear. In fact, the Holy Bible says that his face looked like the face of an angel.
Stephen 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. He said that he saw the heavens opening and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. His enemies closed their ears and refused to listen to another word.
Then they dragged St. Stephen outside the city of Jerusalem and stoned him to death. The saint prayed, "Lord Jesus, receive my spirit!" and he fell to his knees but begged God not to punish his enemies for killing him.
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