SAINT STEPHEN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Saint Stephen, the first Christian martyr, was one of the first seven deacons chosen by the early church, according to the Acts of the Apostles (vi.5). He is regarded as the first Christian martyr, or “protomartyr". His very name in Greek simply means the “crown” of martyrdom: according to a 5th century tradition, the name Stephanos was a Greek equivalent for the Aramaic Kelil (Syriac kelila, “crown").


Nothing is related of Stephen’s early life. After Jesus’s death, Stephen’s outspoken support of Jesus and the Christian disciples, led to his being tried for blasphemy by the Sanhedrin, and stoned to death.


For centuries the location of Stephen’s tomb lay unnoticed, until in 415, when Christian pilgrims were flocking to Jerusalem, a certain priest named Lucian said he had learned by revelation that the sacred body was in Caphar Gamala, some distance to the north of Jerusalem.


His feast day, St. Stephen’s Day, is celebrated on December 26 in the West, and on December 27 in the East (in Britain this day is celebrated as Boxing Day). His heraldic symbol is typically three stones.


He is not to be confused with Saint Stephen of Hungary.