"The second commandment of the teaching: You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not seduce boys. You shall not commit fornication. You shall not steal. You shall not practice magic. You shall not use potions. You shall not procure [an] abortion, nor destroy a newborn child," (Didache 2:1–2 [A.D. 70]).
The Massacre of the 14,000 Holy Innocent Infants
Commemorated by the Holy Church on 29 December
"Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying, 'In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted because they are not!" (Mt. 2:17-18; Jer. 31:15, KJV)
by Archimandrite Nektarios Serfes in Boise, Idaho
article first appeared in December, 2000
Beloved friends in Christ our Lord,
Christ is Born!
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints!
Humbly by the grace and the joy of our Lord's Holy Nativity, I greet you with His joy and peace each one of you. Nothing has been so joyfully proclaimed then the birth of our Lord God and Savior Jesus Christ! For it is Christ our true God that we live and are spiritually comforted.
The holiness of our Lord's Great Nativity can be a means for us all to look at our own spiritual lives, and ask ourselves the vital question: what kind of a true Christian life are we living at this time?
Seeing that we are Orthodox Christians by Baptism, let us fulfill the grace that has been poured out upon us every day of our lives remembering that each and every one of us are indeed precious in the sight of our Lord. And, as we are precious in Christ our Lord, so, too, are those who are with child, and those who are about to give birth.
How precious is the child within the womb of a mother who spiritually prepares herself for the birth, who knows that the birth will be blessed within our Holy Orthodox Church as is the custom after forty days. Both the mother and the new-born child are brought to the Holy Orthodox Church, and prayers are read over both of them on their entrance into the Holy Church. After this entrance, the days ahead are a time of preparation for the Holy Baptism of the newly-born child, a child so precious to our Lord God, and to the Holy Orthodox Christian community, that a Godfather and Godmother are provided to be the witnesses of this Holy Baptism, and to help assist in teaching the child the Holy Orthodox Faith throughout his or her life.
Every woman who bears a child always exults in the joy of the birth, as well as in the joy of having a living mind, heart, and soul within their womb. We must realize that within the Holy Orthodox Church and its teachings there is a clear direction against abortion. This teaching is not something new in the Eastern Orthodox Church, as it evident that in the first three centuries of the early Church, the Orthodox holy Fathers spoke frequently against abortion.
The Holy Rachel wept unceasingly when King Herod had ordered his soldiers in both Bethlehem and Judea to have all the children massacred, from the newly born up to the age of two years old. Ever since this appalling, unlawful act of the massacre of the 14,000 Holy Innocent Infants, it seems that the loving Holy Rachel has not stopped weeping to this very hour, as we continue to see abortions being performed in America and in other countries around the world, often with the approval of local governments. The Orthodox Church cries out against this act of abortion. But is it not true that our ears remain often remain closed as we are afraid of the truth? We are allowing death to happen, murder, before our eyes! Death of an innocent child!
The weeping for all martyred children by Rachel has not ceased today! It seems that this holy mother and woman continues to weep! Every time we hear about another abortion Rachel weeps again!
Let us-I humbly cry to you-commemorate this day of prayer of the Massacre of the 14,000 Holy Innocent Infants, in Bethlehem, and Judea and reflect on this day spiritually in God-loving prayer, that we are opposed to these acts of abortion continuing in this country and every place where life exists. And at the same time let us humbly weep, with Rachel, for all the innocent precious children who have been aborted. Let us piously and humbly help the Holy Rachel as she weeps for these innocent children, and at the same time realize that within the womb of the mother there is a precious spark of life that can bring us everlasting joy! Joy in Christ, and joy for us all! Speak to any father or mother who has just had a child, and see how joyful in their eyes and hearts is this precious child!
Lord, have mercy and blessings for all newly born children!
Holy Innocent Infants of Bethlehem & Judea,
Pray unto God for us!
Please visit Eastern Orthodox Prayer For A Woman With Child for more information
Holy Innocent Children,
Pray unto God for us!
Pray unto God for us!