St. Stephen was considered the first Christian martyr revealed through chapters six and seven of the Acts of the Apostles. He was dragged away by an angry mob while preaching the Gospel in the streets and stoned to death. St. Paul was a part of the mob and later saw the light.
Stephen was a great debater filled with grace and power, according to Acts. His face looked like an angel, according to Scripture. His demise came as a result of a speech during which he chastised opponents by comparing them to past Israelites bound to blasphemy and idolatry.
Calling out his forgiveness even as he was being stoned to death, Stephen shared the fate of Jesus in the way he was falsely accused and killed, famously saying, “Lord Jesus receive my spirit,” as he died. Patron saint of stonemasons, bricklayers, deacons, and Hungary, his feast day is Dec. 26.