The Holy Infants Killed for Christ's Sake in Bethlehem
See Matthew ch. 2. Their number is sometimes put at fourteen thousand.
In our own day, the icon of “Rachel weeping for her children” (Matthew 2:18) has come to commemorate also the tens of millions of children who have died through abortion.
Our Venerable Father Marcellus, Abbot of the Monastery of the Unsleeping Ones (485)
He was born to a wealthy family in Syria at the beginning of the fifth century. Early in life he saw the futility of worldly things, gave away all of his wealth, and went to Ephesus, where he earned his living as a scribe. There he was schooled in the virtues by his fellow-worker Promotus, a slave who distributed most of his earnings to the poor; after the day’s work was done, Promotus would take Marcellus to pray all night in the churches and monasteries.
Marcellus heard of the Saint Alexander the Unsleeping (February 25), who had settled near Constantinople with about thirty disciples, who made it their discipline to send up prayer and praise to God at every hour of the day and night. The monastery aroused the resentment of some more worldly monasteries, and the brethren were forced to flee to Bithynia. It was there that Marcellus joined them and took the monastic habit.
After the death of St Alexander and his successor, Marcellus was elected Abbot of the monastery against his will. Under his direction the Monastery of the Unsleeping Ones became a beacon of sanctity, with monks flocking to it from every corner of the Empire. The practice of never-ceasing service to God spread throughout the Empire, in both the West and the East. The monks were divided into three companies according to the language they spoke: Greek, Latin, or Syriac; each company took its turn celebrating the services in its particular language, and thus every hour of the day was given over to God’s glory. The monastery not only grew but give birth to others: The famed Studion Monastery in Constantinople was founded by monks from Marcellus’ monastery.
Saint Marcellus took part in the Council of Chalcedon, defending Orthodoxy against the Monophysite heresy both at the Council and in the years that followed. His generosity and contempt for worldly wealth were known to all: anyone who came to the monastery in need received alms, but God always replenished the funds so that more could be given. When Marcellus inherited his family’s fortune upon his brother’s death, he kept none of it either for himself or even for his monastery, but distributed it to poorer communities and to the needy.
Saint Marcellus reposed in peace around 484, having lived the ascetical life for some sixty years.