ST. STEPHEN suffered the next in order. His death was occasioned by the
faithful manner in which he preached the gospel to the betrayers and
murderers of Christ. To such a degree of madness were they excited, that
they cast him out of the city and stoned him to death. The time when he
suffered is generally supposed to have been at the passover which
succeeded to that of our Lord's crucifixion, and to the aera of his
ascension, in the following spring.
Upon this a great persecution was raised against all who professed their
belief in Christ as the Messiah, or as a prophet. We are immediately
told by St. Luke, that "there was a great persecution against the
church, which was at Jerusalem;" and that "they were all scattered
abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the
About two thousand christians, with Nicanor, one of the seven deacons,
suffered martyrdom during the "persecution which arose about Stephen."