Saint Stephen Biography
Born In: Jerusalem, Israel
Saint Stephen was a religious figure recognized as the first martyr of Christianity. According to the Acts of the Apostles, he was one of the deacons in the early church at Jerusalem; he had been appointed by the Apostles to offer charitable aid to the poor. According to Orthodox belief, he was the oldest among the seven deacons and was therefore called "archdeacon". Saint Stephen, who considered Jesus to be the restorer of Mosaic religion, was condemned for committing blasphemy against a Jewish temple. He prepared a long sermon denouncing the Jewish authorities sitting in judgment on him and was eventually stoned to death in 34 AD, at the young age of 29. His final words, a heart-felt prayer of pardon for his attackers, echo those of Jesus Christ’s. Following Saint Stephen’s death, various miracles were experienced at places where his relics were kept. A part of his right arm has been enshrined at Russia’s Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius. Presently, a number of days mark the commemoration of Saint Stephen, including Saint Stephen's Day that is celebrated on December 26 in western Christianity.