Stephen (Greek: Στέφανος Stéphanos, meaning "wreath, crown" and by extension "reward, honor, renown, fame", often given as a title rather than as a name; Hebrew: סטפנוס הקדוש, Stephanos HaQadosh; c. 5 – c. 34 AD) traditionally venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity, was, according to the Acts of the Apostles, a deacon in the early Church at Jerusalem who angered members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy at his trial, he made a speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him and was then stoned to death. His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, also known as Paul, a Pharisee and Roman citizen who would later become a Christian apostle.
Protomartyr of The Faith
|Died||33–36 AD (aged 28–32)|
Jerusalem, Judaea, Roman Empire
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Eastern Catholic Churches
Eastern Orthodox Church
Oriental Orthodox Churches
Assyrian Church of the East
|Feast||25 December (Armenian Christianity)|
26 December (Western)
27 December (Eastern)
Tobi 1 (Coptic Christianity)
|Attributes||Red Martyr, stones, dalmatic, censer, miniature church, Gospel Book, martyr's palm. In Eastern Christianity he often wears an orarion|
|Patronage||Altar Servers ;Acoma Indian Pueblo; casket makers; Cetona, Italy; deacons; headaches; horses; Kessel, Belgium; masons; Owensboro, Kentucky; Passau, Germany; Kigali, Rwanda; Dodoma, Tanzania; Serbia; Republic of Srpska; Prato, Italy|
The only source for information about Stephen is the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen is mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jews selected to participate in a fairer distribution of welfare to the Greek-speaking widows.
The Catholic, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox Churches, Lutheran and the Church of the East view Stephen as a saint. Artistic representations often show Stephen with a crown symbolising martyrdom, three stones, martyr's palm frond, censer, and often holding a miniature church building. Stephen is often shown as a young, beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments.