The book of acts tells the story of how Stephen was tried by the Sanhedrin for blasphemy and speaking against the temple and the Law (see also Antinomianism). He was stoned to death (c. A.D. 34–35) by an infuriated mob encouraged by Saul of Tarsus, the future St. Paul "And Saul entirely approved of putting him to death". Stephen's final speech was presented as accusing the Jews of persecuting prophets who spoke out against their sins:
- '"Which one of the Prophets did your fathers not persecute, and they killed the ones who prophesied the coming of the Just One, of whom now, too, you have become betrayers and murderers."
Saint Stephen's name is simply derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning "crown", which translated into aramaic as Kelil. Traditionally, Saint Stephen is invested with a crown of martyrdom for Christianity; he is often depicted in art with three stones and the martyrs' palm. In Eastern Christian iconography, he is shown as a young beardless man with a tonsure, wearing a deacon's vestments, and often holding a miniature church building or a censer.
Graphic: Byzantine icon