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Stephen (Greek: Στέφανος Stéphanos, meaning "wreath, crown" and by extension "reward, honor, renown, fame", often given as a title rather than as a name, Hebrew: סטפנוס הקדוש), (c. AD 5 – c. AD 34) traditionally venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity, was according to the Acts of the Apostles a deacon in the early church at Jerusalem who aroused the enmity of 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 and was then stoned to death. His martyrdom was witnessed by Saul of Tarsus, a Pharisee who would later become a follower of Jesus and known as Paul the Apostle.
The only primary source for information about Stephen is the New Testament book of the Acts of the Apostles. Stephen is mentioned in Acts 6 as one of the Greek-speaking Hellenistic Jews selected to participate in a fairer distribution of welfare to the Greek-speaking widows.The Catholic, Anglican, Oriental Orthodox, Eastern Orthodox Churches, and the Church of the East venerate Stephen as a saint. The Lutheran Church recognizes Stephen as a saint as it recognizes all Christians as saints. Traditionally, Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom; artistic representations often depict him with three stones and the martyr's palm frond. Eastern Christian iconography shows him as a young, beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.
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