Early Deacon and the very first Martyr in Jerusalem.
An enthusiastic preacher and miracle worker in the earliest days of Christianity, he converted many people and soon got into trouble with the authorities.
Having recently sent that religious terrorist JESUS for crucifixion, the Jewish religious leaders were a bit put-out to find that he was more popular than ever. St STEPHEN was therefore summoned to appear before the Jewish Council to explain himself. And preferably recant.
But our Saint simply couldn’t help himself. He reveled in his belief, he preached them the Gospel, and he harangued them about the crucifixion. At last he got very excitable and fell into a religious ecstasy.
With his mind on higher matters and gorgeous visions of Christian Heaven before his eyes, he uttered words of — to his Jewish audience — dire blasphemy. In horror they covered their ears, rent their garments, cast him out of the city — and had him stoned to death.
Three hundred years later, a priest had a dream telling him where to find the grave. This meant holy bones! These made their way to Rome and our Martyr was popped into the tomb of St LAWRENCE-OF-ROME, who obligingly moved over when the tomb was opened. We feel sure he was glad of the company.