1st Reading: 2 Chronicles 24:17-22
Epistle: Acts 6:8-7:2a, 51-60
Gospel: Matthew 23:34-39
Hymn of the Day: 661 The Son of God goes forth to war
St. Stephen, Martyr
St Stephen, one of the original seven deacons in Jerusalem appointed by the Apostles. He was charged with blasphemy and stoned, thus becoming the first Christian martyr. Saul of Tarsus (later St. Paul) was present at his execution.
Acts of the Apostles tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin (priests) for blasphemy against Moses and God (Acts 6:11) and speaking against the Temple and the Law (Acts 6:13-14). He was stoned to death (34-35 A.D.) by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus (as St. Paul was known before his conversion to Christianity): “And Saul entirely approved of putting him to death” (Acts 8:1).
http://en.wikipedia.org “Saint Stephen”