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Day 7 of the Blessed Coptic Month of Bashans, may God make it always received, year after year, with reassurance and tranquility, while our sins after forgiven by the tender mercies of our God my fathers and brothers.
The Tenth Day of the Blessed Month of Bashans
Departure of the Three Hebrew Young Men
: Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael
On this day is the commemoration
of the departure of the three young men the Saints: Hananiah (Ananias),
Azariah (Azarias) and Mishael (Misael). These Saints were the sons of Jehoiakim
king of Judah. They were exiled by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon. When Nebuchadnezzar
chose some of the exiled young men to be in his service. These young men
and Daniel, their cousin, among those who were chosen. Ashpenaz the master
of the eunuchs gave them other names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar,
to Hananiah : Shadrach; to Mishael : Meshach; and to Azariah : Abed-Nego.
These young men purposed in their heart that they would not defile themselves
with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank;
therefore they requested of the chief of the eunuchs that they might not
defile themselves. The chief of the eunuchs said to them, "I fear my lord
the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see
your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you
would endanger my head before the king." They said to the steward whom
the chief of the eunuchs had set over them: "Please test your servants
for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Then let our countenances be examined before you, and the countenances
of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies; and as you
see fit, so deal with your servants." So he consented with them in this
matter, and tested them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenance
appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the
portion of the king's delicacies. As for these four young men, God gave
them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding
in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days, when the king had
said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them
in before Nebuchadnezzar. When the king interviewed them, and among them
all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore
they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding
about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than
all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm, and he appointed them governors on all the provinces of Babylon.
When the king made an image
of gold, and the three Hebrew young men did not worship it, those envious
of them, accused them before the king that they did not worship the image.
The king brought them and asked them about that and they confessed that
they only worship the true God. He commanded them to be casted in a burning
fiery furnace. The Lord sent His angel, who protected them and made the
fire as a cool dew although it burnt the men that threw them in the fiery
furnace. When the king saw that, he believed in their God and promoted
them in the province of Babylon. On the tenth day of Bashans, while they
were praying, and kneeling down, they gave up the spirit at the hand of
the Lord. A great earthquake occurred. The king was terrified, and inquired
from Daniel about what had happened, who told him that the three Hebrew
young men had died. The king came to the place and mourned them. He ordered
that three beds made of ebony be made, and their bodies be wrapped in silk,
and then placed on the beds. He also ordered a bed made of gold for himself,
so that when he died, they would place him on it among them. Pope Theophilos,
the 23rd. Patriarch, built a church after their names and wanted to relocate
their bodies to it. He delegated St. John the short and sent him to Babylon.
When he arrived to the place where they were buried, he heard a voice saying:
"The Lord has ordained that our bodies remain in this place, but because
of your labor of love, when you return, say to the Patriarch to fill the
oil lamps with oil on the night of the consecration of the church, and
the power of God will be revealed." When he returned, and told the Pope,
he did as he was commanded, and the oil lamps (Kandeels) lighted up. They
glorified God, and completed the consecration after the names of these
May their prayers be with us and glory be to God forever. Amen.
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