Our Patron Saint
St. Stephen - The First Martyr & Deacon
He was a Jew who spoke Greek. His name means “crown.” According to Epiphanius, he was one of the seventy. Later, he was appointed one of the seven deacons chosen by the Apostles to supervise the administration of alms and help in the work of evangelism. The Book of Acts records the miracles performed by him after his ordination and of his outstanding preaching.
He ran into opposition from the Jewish religious leaders, who at first tried to defeat him in debate. When this proved impossible, they slanderously accused him of blasphemy and thereby he was brought before the Sanhedrin (Jewish Council).
At his trial, he preached a sermon that was filled with power and authority that was recorded in Acts 7:2-53. When he proclaimed his revelation of seeing the Son of Man seated upon the Throne of His Glory, they immediately dragged him out and stoned him to death.
One of the Fathers composed this hymn on his behalf: “You fought the good fight, O first martyr of Christ, and apostle. You exposed the perversion of the persecutors; for when you were killed by stones from the hands of wicked men, you received a crown from the Right Hand on High, and you cried out to God: ‘O Lord, do not charge this sin against them.’ ”
In this icon, he is vested in the deacon’s sticharion and carries a censor in his right hand. In the background, his accusers are stoning him while an angel place a crown over his head.