The Earliest mention of Stephan is when he is listed among the Sean men chosen to supervise the public table, We recall that the first Christians held their property in common, the well to do sharing what they possessed with their poor; and at this time, as always in the wake of war, here were many "displaced persons" in the need of charity. We read in Acts that the Hellenists, as the Greek speaking Christians were called, thought that they. Particularly the widows among them were being discriminated against at the public tables. The Apostles were informed of these complaints, but they were too busy to deal with the problems there for seven good and prudent men were selected to administer and supervise the tables. The seven, on being presented to the apostles were prayed, over and ordained by the imposition of hands.
Stephen, already a leader, now began to speak in the public with more vigor and "full of grace and power, was working great wonders and signs among the people ". By this time a member of Jewish priests had been converted to the new faith, but they still held to the old traditions and rules as laid down in Mosaic Law. Stephen was prepared to engage in controversy with them, eager to point out that, according to the master, the old law had been superseded. He was continually quoting Jesus and the Prophets to the effect that external usages and all the ancient holy rites were of less importance than the sprit, that even the temple might be destroyed, as it had been in the past, without damage to the true an eternal religion. It was talk of this sort carried by hearsay rumor about the city and often misquoted, intentionally or not, that was to draw down up on Stephen the wrath of the Jewish Priestly class.
It was in a certain Synagogue of Jews "called that of freed men, and of the cyrenians and of the Alexandrians and of those from Cilicia and the Province of Asia" that Stephen chiefly disputed. Perhaps they didn't understand his; at all events, they could not make effective answer, and so feel to abusing him. They Bribed men to say that Stephen was Speaking blasphemous words against Moses and against God. The elders and the Scribes were stirred up and brought him before the Sanhedrin, the supreme Jewish tribunal, which had authority in both Civil and religious matters. Falls witness made their accusations; Stephen defined himself ably, reviewing the long spiritual history of his people; finally his defense turned in to a bitter accusation. He concluded thus; "yet not in houses made by hands dose the highest dwell, even as the prophet says ….. Stiff … necked and uncircumcised in heart and ear, you always oppose the holy sprit. As your father die so do you also which of the Prophets have not your father's persecute? And they killed those who for told the coming of the Just once of whom you have now been the betrayers and murderers, you who received the Law as an ordinance of angels and did not keep it" . Thus castigated the account is that the crowd could contain their anger no longer they rushed up on Stephen, drove him outside the city to the place appointed, and stoned him. At this time Jewish law permitted the death penalty by stoning for blasphemy, Stephen, Full of "grace an fortitude" to the very end, met the grate test without flinching, praying the lord to receive his sprit and not to lay this sin against the people. So perished the first martyr, his dying breath spent in prayer for those who killed him.
The celebration of the feast day of St. Stephen is January 8th.