St. Stephen                                    Martyr; 26 December
One of the first deacons and the first Christian martyr; feast on 26 December. He devoted himself to the care and defence of the poor and persecuted, particularly those who who were victims of a certain official of King Dagobert.
In the Acts of the Apostles the name of St. Stephen occurs for the first time on the occasion of the appointment of the first deacons "full of faith and the Holy Spirit" (Acts:1-5). Dissatisfaction concerning the distribution of alms from the community's fund having arisen in the Church, seven men were selected and specially ordained by the Apostles to take care of the temporal relief of the poorer members. Of these seven, Stephen, is the first mentioned and the best known.
The only first hand source of information on the life and death of St. Stephen is the Acts of the Apostles (6:1-8:2

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St. Lawrence.                 Martyr; 10 August.
St. Lawrence, one of the deacons of the Roman Church, was one of the victims of the persecution of Valerian in 258, like Pope Sixtus II and many other members of the Roman clergy.
The Passio of St. Lawrence was written at least a century after his death and is consequently considered unreliable. Many moden scholars maintain that, like Sixtus, he was beheaded. Lawrence has always been venerated, both in the West and in the East. as the most celebrated of the Roman martyres.

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St. Ephrem
St. Ephrem was born at Nisibis, Mesopotamia in 306 A.D. He was baptised at 18 and served under St. James of Nisibis, became head of his school, and probably accompanied him to the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D.

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St. Vincent of Saragossa.   Martyr;  22 January
St. Vincent, the protomartyr of Spain, was a deacon of the 3rd century and died on January 22, 304 A.D.

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St. Benjamin     Martyr;  31 March
St. Benjamin was imprisoned for preaching Christianity during the persecution of Isdigerd of Persia. Benjamin was released at the intercession of the Emperor of Constantinople, who promised he would stop preaching. As soon as he was released he again began preaching, was arrested and tortured, and then was impaled when he refused to agree to stop his preaching. He died on March 31, 421 A.D.

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