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Pope Francis smiles during the Angelus address (AP)

Pope says St Stephen ‘offered as a gift his life in service for the poorest’

Pope Francis greets pilgrims gathered for the Angelus today (CNS)

Pope also prays for western Christians who ‘encounter abridgements of liberty’

The Stoning of St Stephen by Paolo Uccello

St Stephen, the first Christian martyr

St Stephen (December 26) was hauled up before a Jewish court for rejecting sacrificial worship