The Maccabean Martyrsadmin | 1 August 2012
The collect for a Martyr, in commemoration of the Maccabean Martyrs (d. 166 B.C.), from The Book of Common Prayer (Canadian, 1962):
Almighty God, by whose grace and power thy Martyrs the Holy Maccabees were enabled to witness to the truth and to be faithful unto death: Grant that we, who now remember them before thee, may likewise so bear witness unto thee in this world, that we may receive with them the crown of glory that fadeth not away; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Seven Holy Maccabean Martyrs are seven Jewish brothers who were tortured and killed by the order of Antiochus Epiphanes in 166 B.C. for refusing to participate in idolatrous worship and eat illicit food in violation of God’s laws. Their teacher, Eleazar the scribe, was also martyred at that time. Their mother was forced to watch her sons being cruelly put to death, and then she died. The Eastern Orthodox Church venerates her as St Solomonia.
In 2 Maccabees, the account of Eleazar’s martyrdom is followed by the story of the seven brothers who submitted to martyrdom rather than transgress God’s law. One after another, they stated their willingness to be tortured and die based on a firm hope that God would raise them from the dead.