St. Stephen Protomartyr

St. Stephen was stoned to death as shown by this hand holding a large, jagged stone.

St. Stephen Protomartyr

Feast Day: December 26

Patron Saint of…

Mass Readings



Frequently Asked Questions

St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr, which is why he is called Protomartyr.

Stephen was one of seven men who were chosen to be the first deacons. They ensured that food was distributed to the widows who spoke only Greek. He was known for his speaking abilities and the miracles he performed in the name of Jesus Christ.

Some people debated with him at the synagogue but Stephen was very good at explaining the Christian beliefs. When they could not win the arguments, they became very jealous. They had witnesses falsely testify that Stephen had been preaching in opposition to the Jewish law.

Stephen explained how all he said was in accordance with Jewish tradition, but the elders would not listen and became even more angry. While he was speaking, it is said that his face had the appearance of an angel.

They dragged him outside of the city and killed him by throwing stones at him. His execution was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus who had been persecuting Christians in the region. Saul later experienced a conversion and became St. Paul.

Patron Saint of …

He is the patron saint of altar servers, casket makers  deacons, headaches, horses, and masons.

Mass Readings for the Feast of St. Stephen, First Martyr

  • First readingActs 6:8-10; 7:54-59: “As they were stoning Stephen, he called out ‘Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.’”
  • Responsorial PsalmPsalm 31: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”
  • Gospel Matthew 10:17-22: “You will be hated by all because of my name, but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”


Acts 6:1-7 (The First Deacons Are Chosen) – the First Reading for the 5th Sunday of Easter – Year A

As the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution.

So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”

The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them.

The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith.

Acts 6:1-7


Frequently Asked Questions






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