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Page last updated at 15:58 GMT, Thursday, 23 December 2010
Guernsey church window for St Stephen
Stoning of St Stephen
The stoning of St Stephen features a depiction of the future St Paul

The 26 December or Boxing Day is a special day for St Stephen's Church in De Beauvoir, in St Peter Port, as it is the day of the church's namesake.

One of the church's windows depicts the story of St Stephen who was the first Christian martyr.

Father Philip Carrington explained the window showed St Stephen as a deacon and then at the time of his martyrdom.

He said the stained glass window is one of the church's youngest and was installed in 1869.

It is thought St Stephen was martyred only a year or two after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Father Carrington said: "He committed himself to the gospel message so much that he annoyed the Jewish leaders of the time and they had him stoned to death."

Before becoming the first martyr St Stephen was one of the Christianity's first deacons and was appointed by the apostles to help with administration work for the new and growing faith.

The window at St Stephen's Church is divided into two main panels, or lancets.

Father Carrington said: "The left hand one is the start of the story with Stephen dressed in a green deacon's outfit talking and preaching to the a group of old gentlemen representing the Sanhedrin, the Jewish authorities."

He explained that Stephen related the ancient prophecies of the Jewish Torah to Jesus as Messiah and tried explaining this to the Sanhedrin, but he also accused them of being responsible for Jesus' death which led to his execution.

St Stephen's church window
The window tells the story of St Stephen's martyrdom

Father Carrington continued: "The right hand lancet has Stephen transformed in red, the colour of a martyr, on his knees praying for those who are about to beat his head in!"

Above these is a trefoil containing a crown, one of the symbols of a martyr and the words "St Stephen - Martyr".

Though it is less well-known today than some other saint's days, Father Carrington said we still mark St Stephen's Day as Boxing Day and it is from the work of St Stephen that the notion of giving gifts to the less fortunate on that day originates.


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