On this fifth day of Celebration of the Nativity of the Lord we have the commemoration of the death of the male children in Bethlehem who were two years of age or under. King Herod the Great had ordered this atrocity in order to ensure that the infant Messiah sought by the Magi would be unable to displace him on his throne. The liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church (East & West) refers to them as the “Holy Innocents” and regards them as martyrs. Throughout the centuries Christian art, poetry and popular piety have enfolded the memory of the “tender flock of lambs”

Today is a suitable day to reflect upon our commitment to the protection of life; it is also a day on which has justly come to be an occasion of penance for our present politically-correct and on-going daily Holocaust: that of the pre-born. The US bishops have asked us to have this day as a penitential day. Hence, the intercession of the Holy Innocents becomes crucial in our Christian life asking them to intercede before God for ALL vulnerable life in the womb. We trust that our offering of prayer and procession will bring grace and light to hearts filled with fear. May our culture, may our parish of St Ann become one of love and reverence for every human person as we remember the great gift of the Incarnation.

At the Divine Liturgy we sing this Troparion: We beseech You, O Lord and Lover of Mankind, and implore you through all the sufferings your saints endured for you: heal all our pains and sufferings!

The Kontakion: When the King was born in Bethlehem, wise men came from the East and brought Him gifts. They had been led by a star on high. As for Herod, he became exceedingly angry, and had the infants harvested like lamenting wheat, and his kingdom came to an end.

Holy Innocents, pray for us!