Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The 14,000 Holy Innocents slain by Herod at Bethlehem

Christ is born! Glorify Him!
The 14,000 Holy Innocents slain by Herod at Bethlehem - Commemorated on December 29 (
When the time came for the Incarnation of the Son of God and His Birth of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, Magi in the East beheld a new star in the heavens, foretelling the Nativity of the King of the Jews. They journeyed immediately to Jerusalem to worship the Child, and the star showed them the way. Having worshipped the divine Infant, they did not return to Jerusalem to Herod, as he had ordered them, but being warned by God in a dream, they went back to their country by another way. Herod finally realized that his scheme to find the Child would not be successful, and he ordered that all the male children two years old and younger at Bethlehem and its surroundings be killed. He thought that the divine Infant, Whom he considered a rival, would be among the dead children.

The Slaughter of the Holy Innocents (
The murdered infants thus became the first martyrs for Christ. The rage of Herod fell also on Simeon the God-Receiver (February 3), who declared before everyone in the Temple that the Messiah had been born. When the holy Elder died, Herod would not give permission for him to be properly buried. On the orders of King Herod, the holy prophet and priest Zachariah was also killed. He was murdered in Jerusalem between the Temple and the altar (Mt. 23:35) because he would not tell the whereabouts of his son John, the future Baptist of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Cave with the Holy Relics of the 14,000 Innocents, Bethlehem (
The wrath of God soon fell upon Herod himself: a horrid condition struck him down and he died, eaten by worms while still alive. Before his death, the impious king murdered the chief priests and scribes of the Jews, and also his brother, and his sister and her husband, and also his own wife Mariam, and three of his sons, and seventy men of wisdom who were members of the Sanhedrin. He initiated this bloodbath so that the day of his death would not be one of rejoicing, but one of mourning.

Troparion - Tone 1
As acceptable victims and freshly plucked flowers, as divine first-fruits and newborn lambs, you were offered to Christ who was born as a child, holy innocents. You mocked Herod's wickedness; now we beseech you: "Unceasingly pray for our souls."
Kontakion - Tone 6
When the King was born in Bethlehem, the Magi came from the east. Having been guided by the star on high, they brought Him gifts. But in his exceeding wrath, Herod mowed down the infants as wheat; lamenting that the rule of his kingdom had come to an end.
Through the prayers of our Holy Fathers, Lord Jesus Christ our God, have mercy on us and save us! Amen!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

The Byzantine chapel I attended for many years was called The Holy Family in Exile and The Holy Innocents. I would love to be able to purchase a copy of the icon you have on the blog which shows the Holy Innocents at the top and the scene of the Holy Family fleeing into exile in Egypt at the bottom. It is beautiful. Where can I purchase it? Thank you and God bless you!!