Today the church remembers Saint Stephen, Deacon and Martyr.Stephen was a man "filled with the Holy Spirit," who was the first of seven deacons appointed by the Apostles in Jerusalem. He was a stirring preacher and was endowed with the gift of healing. His effective proselyting for Christianity brought down upon him the wrath of the powerful Sanhedrin. He had been preaching in a synagogue when an angry mob seized him, dragged him out of the city, and stoned him to death. Stephen died confessing Christ and praying for his persecutors. He was the first Christian martyr.
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We give you thanks, O Lord of glory, for the example of the first martyr Stephen, who looked up to heaven and prayed for his persecutors to your Son Jesus Christ, who stands at your right hand; where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.