Saint Stephen (died 36 CE, Jerusalem; feast day December 26) is the first martyr of the Church, and is the patron of stonemasons, masons, bricklayers, deacons, headaches, and horses. He is usually pictured in deacon's vestments, holding the symbol of martyrdom, a palm branch. Sometimes he has a stone in his left hand, to indicate his death by stoning. He is depicted in many images wearing a wreath, which refers to the origin of his name, the Greek word Stephanos meaning "wreath."
In the Acts of the Apostles, St. Luke praises St. Stephen as “a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit,” who “did great wonders and signs among the people” during the earliest days of the Church. His defense of his faith before the rabbinic court enraged his Jewish audience, and he was taken out of the city and stoned to death. His final words, a prayer of forgiveness for his attackers (Acts of the Apostles 7:60), echo those of Jesus on the cross (Luke 23:34).