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Prayer For The Feast of the Holy Innocents

For Use On December 28th or Other Occasions


The Feast of the Holy Innocents is celebrated on December 28th. It commemorates when King Herod ordered the massacre of all male children under age two, in and around the town of Bethlehem.

The intent of this order was to kill the child Jesus, who as the predicted Messiah, was a real threat to the rule of Herod. As recounted in the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt, avoiding the massacre, and thus Jesus survived.

The hymn "Coventry Carol" is associated with this holy day, as well as Christmas, since this feast falls within the Christmas season.

The Massacre of Innocents by Pieter Breugel The Elder

The Prayer
O God,
We remember today,
the slaughter of the holy innocents of Bethlehem
by King Herod.
Receive, we pray,
into the arms of your mercy
all innocent victims;
and by your great might
frustrate the designs of evil tyrants
and establish your rule
of justice, love, and peace;
through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Book of Common Prayer, 1979, modified


Updated 12-26-2017

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