Saturday, July 31, 2021


 Today is the Feast of the 350 Martyrs on the Maronite calendar. The major Maronite monasteries were supporters of the Council of Chalcedon, but were very close to Monophysite strongholds. When St. Hormisdas became Pope in 514, the major challenge to the Church was dealing with the Acacian schism, in which a few decades before, the Patriarch of Constantinople, Acacius, had attempted to impose a compromise position, creating a fundamental divide between Rome and Constantinople. There was a resurgence of compromising attempts in Hormisdas's day, so Hormisdas asked Eastern bishops for official declarations of support in favor of Chalcedon, to assist him in ending the schism. The bishops of the Maronite monasteries in Syria and Lebanon wrote a letter affirming their support of Chalcedon and giving an account of how a number of heir monasteries had been burned and 350 monks had been martyred for orthodoxy. (The number seems to be a round one rather than an exact count.) Hormisdas was successful in ending the schism, and his feast day is usually commemorated around August 6.

The Feast of the 350 Martyrs, Disciples of St. Maron

For the sake of Your holy name, the martyrs fought,
Lord, not with sword but with grace and holy patience,
and in all places You exalt their victory.

Beneath their feet You will crush the Adversary;
faith, hope, and love guided them to the paths of life,
for they were loyal to truth and did not waver.

As their death was pleasing sacrifice in Your sight,
may their memory be protection to Your flock,
and their prayers a shield for Your chosen people.

Through them, the unfathomable riches of Christ,
the treasuries of divine wisdom, rain on us,
according to the eternal purpose of God.

O Three Hundred Fifty martyrs! Great is your faith!
When our Lord Christ called you to follow, you followed,
and God's grace, like a mother, sustained you in death.

Pray for us, O martyrs, that we may be worthy
to celebrate your feast and join your holy choir,
giving great honor with you to Christ the martyr.

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