Saint Stephen was one of the first deacons and martyrs of the Christian church. He is venerated as a saint in the Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican churches. According to the Bible, Stephen was a man "full of faith and the Holy Spirit" who performed miracles and preached about Jesus Christ.
Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, stonemasons, and casket makers. He is also invoked against headaches and back pains.
According to the Bible, Stephen was one of the seven men chosen by the apostles to assist with the distribution of food to widows in the early Christian community. He was known for his eloquence and wisdom, and he used his gifts to argue with the Jewish leaders and defend the teachings of Jesus. This ultimately led to his arrest and trial before the Sanhedrin, the Jewish council.
During his trial, Stephen presented a powerful defense of his beliefs, which enraged the council. They convicted him of blasphemy and stoned him to death. According to tradition, as he was being stoned, Stephen prayed for his killers, saying "Lord, do not hold this sin against them."
Stephen is recognized as the first Christian martyr, and his death is recorded in the Bible in the book of Acts.
There is no known birthdate for Stephen, but it is believed that he died on December 26th, 34 AD. He was canonized by the Catholic Church in the early 4th century. The Feast of Saint Stephen is celebrated on December 26th in the Western Church, and on December 27th in the Eastern Church. It is also commemorated as a saint's day by the Anglican Church.
One interesting fact about Saint Stephen is that he is one of the 14 Holy Helpers, a group of saints venerated in the Catholic Church for their intercessory power.
In art, Saint Stephen is often depicted holding a stone or a palm, symbols of his martyrdom. He is also frequently shown in the company of Saint Lawrence, another martyr and deacon of the early Church.