The 14,000 Holy Children in Bethlehem.


From the Prologue

When the wise men from the East failed to return to Jerusalem from Bethlehem to tell Herod about the new-born king, but, at the angel's command, returned to their home another way, Herod was as furious as a wild beast, and commanded that all the children of two years and under in Bethlehem and its surroundings be killed. This terrible command of the king's was carried out to the letter. His soldiers cut off some of the children's heads with their swords, dashed others on the stones, trampled some of them underfoot and drowned others with their own hands. The weeping and lamentation of their mothers rose to heaven: 'Lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children' as had been prophesied (Jer. 13:15; Matt. 2:18). This evildoing towards the hordes of innocent children came to pass a year after the birth of Christ, at a time when Herod was trying to find the divine Child. He sought Zacharias's son, John, meaning to kill him in the belief that John was the new king. When Zacharias refused to hand John over, he was killed in the Temple on Herod's orders. St Simeon the Host of God was also killed, and went to God soon after the Presentation in the Temple. Slaying the children in Bethlehem, Herod then turned on the Jewish elders, who had revealed to him where the Messiah would be born. He killed Hyrcanes the High Priest, and seventy elders from the Sanhedrin, and thus they who conspired with Herod to kill the new baby King came to an evil end. After that, Herod killed his own brother and sister and wife, and three of his sons. Finally, God's punishment fell on him: he began to tremble, his legs swelled, the lower part of his body became putrid and worms came out of the sores, his nose became blocked and an unbearable stench spread around from it. At the time of his death, he remembered that there were many captive Jews in prison, so, that they should not rejoice at his death, he ordered that they all be slaughtered. Thus this terrible ruler lost his inhuman soul and was given to the devil for eternity.

NAME:Our Holy Father Marcellus.

From Apamea in Syria, he was abbot of the community of the Sleepless Ones in Constantinople. He was a seer, a healer and a great wonderworker. He spoke with angels, and drove out devils with ease. After his death, he appeared to his close friend, St Lucian, and told him that he had begged God to take Lucian quickly to His heavenly Kingdom. This glorious and holy man entered into rest in 486.

NAME:Our Holy Fathers Mark the Gravedigger and Theophilus the Weeper.

They were monks of the Caves in Kiev. St Mark had such grace that he could command the dead and they would listen to him. 'Wait till tomorrow, my brother; your grave isn't ready yet', he is recorded as having said to a dead monk, who was already washed and embalmed, and the monk opened his eyes and lived till the following day. Theophilus wept constantly for his sins, catching his tears in a basin. An angel appeared to him at the time of his death, and showed him a very large basin full of tears. These were Theophilus's tears, that had fallen to the ground or been wiped away with his hand, or had dried on his face. Thus in heaven they know and keep all our tears along with our sufferings and labours and sighs for the sake of our salvation. These holy servants of God entered into rest in the eleventh century, and went to the kingdom of Christ.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK

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