A Short Saint Stephen Biography
Who Was Stephen?
Patron Saint of Deacons and Stone Masons
Blessed Stephen was the first Christian martyr and one
of the first deacons of the Christian Church. Saint Stephen was
one of seven men selected and ordained by the Apostles to provide
aid to the poor, elderly widows within the church community. St.
Stephen was a gifted evangelist, respected for his preaching abilities.
The early life of St. Stephan is virtually unknown but his Greek
name, Stephanos, suggests that he was a Hellinistic Jew. However,
according to fifth century tradition, the name Stephanos was a
Greek equivalent for the Aramaic Kelil and the name Kelil was
inscribed on a slab found in St. Stephens tomb.
Saint Stephan ministered mostly to the Hellinistic converts,
with whom the Apostles had difficulty speaking. St. Stephen was
greatly admired for his oratorical skills and the Church had publicly
acknowledged him as a man of good reputation, full of the
Holy Ghost and Wisdom (Acts 6:3).
However, St. Stephen the witness, was not without opposition.
The Libertines, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians and those of Cilicia
and Asia challenged St. Stephen to a dispute and were embarrassed
by him. Prideful and full of hatred, they bore false witness upon
St. Stephen, testifying that he had spoken words of blasphemy
against Moses and against God.
Saint. Stephen was forced to stand before the Sanhedrin
and endure false accusations. When St. Stephen spoke, he recited
the mercies of God towards Israel and of Israels ungratefulness.
The Jewish people were enraged by the words of St. Stephen and
their fury was incensed when he accused them of murdering the
Just One as the Prophets had foretold.
St. Stephen looked to heaven and said, Behold, I see the
heavens opened and the Son of man standing on the right hand of
God (Acts 7:56). At this, the enraged crowd ran violently
upon him and cast him out of the city. Stephen was stoned to death
but had cried out to the Lord to not condemn his enemies.
Stephen, whose name means crown was the first of Jesus
disciples to receive the
martyrs crown. His feast day is December 26th and he is
the patron saint of stonemasons.