Feast of Stephen
GRANT, O Lord, that, in all our sufferings here upon earth for the testimony of thy truth, we may stedfastly look up to heaven, and by faith behold the glory that shall be revealed; and, being filled with the Holy Ghost, may learn to love and bless our persecutors by the example of thy first Martyr Saint Stephen, who prayed for his murderers to thee, O blessed Jesus, who standest at the right hand of God to succour all those who suffer for thee, our only Mediator and Advocate.
-- The 1928 Book of Common Prayer, page 99
St. Stephen was the first Christian martyr. A deacon of the early Church, Stephen publicly spoke with conviction of Christ. According to Luke, leaders of the Synagogue, fearing Christ's growing influence over their followers, falsely accused Stephen of blaspheming Moses and God. The young deacon was brought before the council, sentenced to death, and stoned by a mob. Throughout his ordeal, he appealed to heaven and forgave his murderers.
This stained-glass window in St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, Lynn, Massachusetts, was designed by Francis David Millet for Louis C. Tiffany.
St. Stephen Preaching as a Child