Icon of the Three Holy Youths in the Furnace (Monastery Hosios Loukas, 11th Century) – P76


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Church Feast Day 1





Hosios Loukas Monastery, Boeotia, Greece


11th c.


The Three Holy Youths (Ananias, Azarias, and Misael) lived at first in Israel, but were taken with many of the Israelites into captivity into Babylon with their fellow Judean tribesman Daniel in a.d. 587 under King Nebuchadnessar.  Although they only ate vegetables from the King’s table, they were healthier than the other pagan youths who ate the meat offered to idols.

Driven by pride, King Nebuchadnessar set up a golden idol of himself 90 feet tall and ordered that on a particular day everyone in his kingdom had to bow down before it.  These three youths courageously refused, and then were brought before the King, who tried to threaten them with harm if they did not comply with his wishes, and honors if they did.  This is a pattern for the persecution of the Faithful throughout the centuries.  The Three Holy Youths refused the King’s wishes, and therefore were set into a red-hot burning furnace made seven times hotter than normal.  When they entered with prayer to God, Christ in the form of an angel appeared to them in the flames and made them cool.   These Three Holy Youths lived to die as martyrs in old age under Chambyses.