St. Stephen Biography

A Short Saint Stephen Biography
Who Was Stephen?
Patron Saint of Deacons and Stone Masons

saint steven

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. Stephen’s 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.

st steven stoned to death

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 Israel’s 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
martyr’s crown. His feast day is December 26th and he is the patron saint of stonemasons.

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