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The Massacre of the Innocents | Angelo Visconti

Feast of The Holy Innocents

(1st. c.)

The Holy Innocents are the children mentioned in the account of Jesus’ birth in Matthew’s Gospel (2:16-18). When the Magi came to Jerusalem to find and adore the Baby Jesus, the newborn King of the Jews, King Herod requested that they inform him of the Child’s location under the pretense of offering Him adoration, too. After paying the Child homage and offering Him their gifts, the Wise Men were warned in a dream not to betray Jesus’ location, and departed for their home country by another route. Meanwhile the Holy Family was warned by an Angel to flee into Egypt. King Herod fell into a jealous rage over the Magi’s failure to report back to him. He ordered all the baby boys aged two years and under to be killed, according to the appearance of the Bethlehem Star to the Three Wise Men, in an attempt to kill the Baby Jesus. These baby boys died not only for Christ, but in his stead. The Church venerates them as martyrs. It it is uncertain how many children were killed, whether a small number, or in the thousands. The Latin Church instituted the feast of the Holy Innocents in the fifth century. The Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls in Rome is believed to possess the bodies of several of the Holy Innocents. Their feast day is commemorated on December 28th.
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When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi.”

Gospel of Matthew 2:16
The Massacre of the Innocents by Peter Paul Rubens is the biblical recount of infanticide by Herod the Great, the Roman-appointed King of the Jews. The work was sold at auction at Sotheby’s, London on July 10, 2002 for £49.5 million (C$117 million).

Follow the saints because those who follow them will become saints.”

Saint Clement I, pope

Holy Innocents, martyrs, pray for us.

Be not afraid!  And may the peace of Christ be with you and your loved ones today and always.  Holy Family pray for us.  Amen.

The Holy Family, Murillo
The Heavenly and Earthly Trinities (c. 1675-82) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617 – 1682)

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