He was martyred for his efforts and his death came to parallel closely that of Jesus: He faced a trial before the Sanhedrin and before dying forgave his executioners.

By echoing Christ even in the manner of his death, he made of his death a last-lived sermon, he inspired Saul, a persecutor of the Church who in due course converted to Christianity and became the greatest preacher in history.

St Stephen is the Patron of casket makers, stone masons, deacons, and altar servers.

His feast day is celebrated on 26th December.

Credits: PA; Author: PA;