Thursday, 1 August 2013
Feast of the Holy Maccabees
The Church recognises several Saints who actually lived before the time of Christ, but who, through meritorious lives, shared the rewards of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Today's feast (in the Old Rite) is one example of this.
The Seven Holy Maccabean Martyrs: Habim, Antonin, Guriah, Eleazar, Eusebon, Hadim (Halim) and Marcellus, their mother Solomonia and their teacher Eleazar suffered in the year 166 before the Birth of Christ under the impious Syrian emperor Antiochos Epiphanos. Antiochus attempted to impose the cult of the Hellenic gods on the Jewish people, including desecrating the Temple by 'rededicating' it to Zeus, and installing a statue of the god. The seven young men refused to engage in the idolatry and were eventually brought to Antioch, where they were tortured and martyred in a particularly brutal fashion. There is an account of their deaths in 2 Maccabees, chapter 7.
Their relics were recorded as bein venerated at Antioch at the time of St. Jerome, and were later translated to the church of St. Peter in Chains in Rome.