Stephen is stated to have been full of faith and the Holy Spirit and to have performed miracles among the people. Members of the synagogue had challenged Stephen's teachings, but Stephen, inspired by the Holy Spirit, had defeated them in debate. Furious at this humiliation, they induced false witnesses to testify that Stephen had preached blasphemy. After his testimony Stephen was dragged out of the city and stoned to death in c. AD34. He became the first Christian martyr. Stephen is recognised as a saint in the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Eastern Orthodox Churches.
Prayer for the Feast of St Stephen
We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of Stephen, the first martyr, who prayed for his persecutors and looked to Him who was crucified, your Son Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.