ACCORDING to the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 6-7) in the New Testament, the Greek-speaking deacon Stephen was the first believer to be martyred because of his faith in Jesus. Christians around the world keep his feast on either December 26 (Catholics and Protestants) or December 27 (Orthodox). Stephen is the patron saint of deacons.
Chosen by the Twelve Apostles, along with six other men, Stephen ministered to the early church by serving at communal tables and managing the equitable distribution of alms, especially to the Greek-speaking Jewish widows. He engaged in debates with the Jewish leaders. He drew the ire of the elders of the Jewish synagogues because he opposed them and said that Jesus gave a new law that went beyond the Law of Moses. Stephen was accused of blasphemy and was stoned to death. Like Jesus, he died praying that God would forgive his killers.
Since Saint Stephen is the patron saint of deacons, his feast day is a good time to think about deacons who serve todayas Christian churches. …