St. Stephen (c. 5 – c. 34 AD) is traditionally venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity. According to the Acts of the Apostles, he was a deacon in the early Church at Jerusalem who angered members of various synagogues by his teachings. Accused of blasphemy at his trial, he made a speech denouncing the Jewish authorities who were sitting in judgment on him [Acts 7:51–53] and was then stoned to death. Saul of Tarsus, later known as St. Paul, participated in Stephen’s martyrdom.
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