Saint Stephen

Feast Day - December 26

The First Martyr of the Christian Church

Saint StephenSaint Stephen is known as the Protomartyr of Christianity.  He is thought to have been a deacon.  Acts tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy against Moses and God (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Temple and the Law (Acts 6:13-14) and was then stoned to death (c. A.D. 34–35) by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future Saint Paul.  Stephen's final speech is presented as making an accusation against the Jews of continuing to persecute prophets who spoke out against their sins:

'"Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers." (7:52)

Saint Stephen's name is derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown."  Saint Stephen is traditionally invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity and is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm.  

Heavenly Father, in the midst of our sufferings for Christ grant us grace to follow the example of the first martyr, Stephen, that we may also look to the One who suffered and was crucified on our behalf and pray for those who do us wrong; through our Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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St. Patrick's Church at Moody Air Force Base