Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Seven Holy Martyrs, the Maccabees, their teacher Eleazar, and their mother, Solomoni

On August 1, the Byzantine Rite commemorates the seven holy Martyrs, the Maccabees, and of their teacher Eleazar and their mother Solomoni and the Procession of the precious and life-giving Cross.

They all suffered for the purity of the faith of Israel under King Antiochus, called by some "Epiphanos," the "enlightened one" and by others "Epimanis" the "insane one." Because of the great sins in Jerusalem and especially the vying over priestly authority and crimes committed during the occasion of this struggle, God permitted a great calamity on the Holy City. After that, Antiochus wanted by any means to impose upon the Jews the idolatry of the Hellenes in place of their faith in the one living God and he did everything toward this goal. Assisting Antiochus in his intention were some treacherous high priests and other elders of Jerusalem. On one occasion, King Antiochus himself came to Jerusalem and ordered that all Jews eat the meat of swine, contrary to the Law of Moses, for eating pork was an apparent sign that one has disowned the faith of Israel. The elder Eleazar, a priest and one of the seventy translators of the Old Testament into the Greek language (the Septuagint) would not partake of pork. Because of that, Eleazar was tortured and burned. Returning to Antioch, the king took with him the seven sons called the Maccabees and their mother Solomonia. The seven Maccabean brothers were called: Avim, Antonius, Eleazar, Gurius, Eusebon, Achim and Marcellus. Before the eyes of their mother, the wicked king tortured the sons, one by one, ripping the skin from their faces and, afterward, casting them into the fire. They all bravely endured torture and death but they did not disown their faith. Finally, when the mother saw her last son, the three-year old in the fire, she leaped into the flames and was consumed in the fire rendering her soul to God. They all suffered honorably for the faith in the one living God about one hundred eighty years before Christ.

From Vespers

Stichera of the precious Cross.
Tone 4. As noblest of Martyrs.
As general protection, as source of sanctification, let us embrace the precious Cross; for it calms sufferings, brings an end to diseases and delivers sufferers from pains of every kind. More than the great deep it forms a sea with streams of wonders for those who faithfully venerate and reverence its image.
We mortals, who sail among the waves of life and are storm-tossed by a tempest of sufferings, let us with faith take refuge in the precious Tree as a vessel of salvation, and it will silence the waves and the winds and break the passions, and we will reach in joy the haven of salvation without storms.
The all-holy Cross has shone more brightly than the sun, shedding wonders like sunbeams and healings like flashes of lightning. Let us mortals, ever held fast by the darkness of dread dangers, draw near and we shall receive the light-bringing grace of healings as we magnify the God who was nailed to it in the flesh.
Stichera of the Saints.
Tone 1. All-praised Martyrs.
Tyranny did not shake the roof of the Law, supported by seven pillars; for they bravely endured the irrational frenzy of the persecutor, giving up their bodies to the executioners, those noble youths, kinsmen of Moses and guardians of God’s decrees.
Raising their minds on high beyond things visible the most devout and noble Children, with their mother wise in God, strengthened by the highest hopes had their bodily limbs hacked off. These hopes they have now attained as they rest in the bosom of Abraham their own forefather.
Stoutly arming themselves with youth of soul and whetting their courage most holy Eleazar, the all-wise youths with their mother, wise in God, unflinchingly held their ground against the adversary for the sake of true religion and the maintenance of their ancestral Law.
Glory. Tone 8. By Monk John.
The holy Maccabees said to the tyrant, ‘For us, Antiochos, there is one King: God, from whom we came to be and to whom we return. Another world awaits us, higher and more lasting than the one we see. Our native land is Jerusalem, the mighty and indestructible. Our festival is life with the Angels.’ O Lord, at their prayers have mercy and save us.
Both now. The same.
Your precious Cross, O Christ, which Moses of old prefigured in himself when he overthrew and routed Amalek; and of which David in song cried out and decreed that your footstool was to be worshipped, today we sinners worship with unworthy lips, as we sing your praise who deigned to be nailed to it and we beg: O Lord, with the Thief count us worthy of your kingdom.
At the Aposticha, Prosomia of the Cross.
Tone 1. Joy of the heavenly hosts.
As the precious Cross comes forth, come, lovers of festivals, let us celebrate the feast, let us be radiant and cry aloud with unwavering faith: O Cross of Christ, sanctify us with the grace of the One who was lifted up on you, and rescue us from every harm by your power.
Verse: Exalt the Lord, our God; and worship at his footstool, for he is holy.
The precious Cross prepares the paths to heaven for all who worship it with fear and love, and the One who was nailed upon it numbers with the choirs of the immaterial Powers those who with longing sing its praise.
Verse: God, who is our King before the ages, has wrought salvation in the midst of the earth.
As we worship in faith the precious Cross, we worship the Master who was nailed upon it, by whose will we purify our lips and souls, by its spiritual illumination we are made radiant as we praise it.
Glory. Tone 8. By Monk Kosmas.
The souls of the righteous are in the hand of the Lord, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the forefathers before the Law and ancestors of the Maccabees, who are now the objects of our praise. For they, as children of Abraham, were valiant in soul and zealous for the faith of the forefather Abraham, and they struggled even to death for the sake of true religion; for having together lived devoutly and competed lawfully they refuted the impiety if accursed Antiochos, and preferring none of the things of this present life, they offered everything to God: souls, courage, senses, tender bodies and the recompenses of those brought up in purity. O devout root from which you sprang, O Maccabees! O holy mother, who gave birth to a number equal to the days of the week! But we implore you, O Maccabees, with your mother Solomoni and the wise priest Eleazar, when you stand before Christ God, for whose sake you have toiled, as you receive the labours of your fruits, make intercession for mankind. For he does whatever he wills and fulfils the wishes of you that fear him.
Both now. The same.
The saying of your Prophet Moses has been fulfilled, O God, which said, ‘See your life hanging before your eyes.’ Today the Cross is exalted and world is freed from error. Today the Resurrection of Christ is consecrated, and the ends of the earth rejoice as with David’s cymbals they offer you their hymn and say, ‘You have wrought salvation in midst of the earth, O God, good and the lover of mankind: the Cross and Resurrection, through which you have saved us. All-powerful Lord, glory to you.’
Apolytikion of the Saints. Tone 1.
O be entreated by the sufferings which the Saints endured for you, O Lord; and heal all our pains, O Lover of mankind.
Of the Cross. Same Tone.

Lord, save your people and bless your inheritance, granting to faithful Christians victories over their enemies, and protecting your commonwealth by your Cross.

No comments:

Post a Comment