St. Stephen was one of the first ordained deacons, the first martyr for the Christian faith, and his faith is a shining light for all Christians.
The apostles ordained deacons in the early Church to assist with pastoral care so the apostles could focus on teaching. As a result, St. Stephen was ordained a deacon and named archdeacon, which means he was a sort of “head deacon”. After that, he became a great preacher and he performed many miracles. However, the Jewish leaders were nervous about his growing popularity and they put him on trial for blasphemy during persecution of the early Church.
He debated with them, admonished them, and encouraged them to believe in Jesus, even quoting the scriptures. However, he had a vision during this trial, which was the final straw for them. Subsequently, they took him outside of the city and stoned him.
The Stoning of St. Stephen
As he was being stoned, he prayed for his persecutors. At this trial, Saul was present (who would become Paul!), who became a persecutor of the early Church until he, himself, encountered Christ. St. Stephen’s feast day is December 26 (boxing day!), and he is the patron of stonemasons, altar servers, and deacons.
Why a stone?
Stephen was one of the first ordained deacons of the Church, and many miracles and preaching are attributed to him. The Jewish leaders at the time accused him of blasphemy as his popularity grew, so they brought forth false witnesses and he attempted to persuade them to believe in Jesus. He was sentenced to death and kept his eyes to heaven as they stoned him. He was the first martyr of the Christian faith and his feast day is December 26.
Who would be friends with St. Stephen?
- Those persecuted for the faith
- Altar servers (he’s their patron!)
- Stonemasons (ironic?!)
Check out this first martyr’s medal in our shop here.