Feast of the day

SAINT STEPHEN The first martyr Feast

12/26/2020 12:00:00 AM

The first martyr

         St. Stephen was one of the first deacons chosen by the early church in Acts of the Apostles. After Jesus' ascension, Stephen began working to spread what was then called The Way. He preached the teachings of Jesus and participated in the conversion of Jews and Gentiles.

        Acts tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy and was then stoned to death by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future Saint Paul. Stephen died praying for those who killed him; "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."

         St. Stephen's name is derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning, "crown." His name translates into Aramaic as Kelil. St. Stephen is traditionally depicted wearing a crown; with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young, beardless man with a tonsure, wearing deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building and censer.