St. Stephen, the First Martyr, was one of the seven deacons of the early Church. Filled with the grace and power, he was working great wonders among the people, and nobody could withstand the wisdom and spirit with which he spoke. This aroused the anger of the Greek-speaking Jews of Jerusalem, who brought him before the Sanhedrin on a charge of blasphemy. Stephen, whose face shone like an angel, spoke up and said: "You always oppose the Holy Spirit; you are just like your ancestor. Which of the prophets did your ancestors not persecute".
When they heard this, the members of the Sanhedrin were infuriated and ground their teeth at him. But Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and said: Behold, I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. They threw him out of the city and began to stone him. Stephen called out: Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Then he fell to his knees and cried out in the loud voice: Lord, do not hold this sin against them. And when he said this he fell asleep.
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