Maccabees, Festival of The
Maccabees, Festival of the In the 4th century, when fasts and festivals had greatly multiplied, not only were festivals of Christian martyrs celebrated, but also those of some of the more eminent martyrs of the Old Testament. The conduct of the Maccabees (q.v.) in opposing Antiochus Epiphanes (q.v.), and dying in defense of the Jewish law, seems to have been generally celebrated at this time. The authors of that period are extravagant in their commendations of these patriots. Chrysostom has three homilies on the subject. At Antioch there was a church called by the name of the Maccabees; and Augustine, who wrote two sermons on their festival, calls them Christian martyrs. The reason assigned for the adoption of this festival was that, as these men had suffered martyrdom so bravely before Christ's coming, what would they not have done had they lived after him, and been favored with the death of Christ for their example? The Roman Martyrology places this festival on August 1st. Augustine and Gregory Nazianzen allude to this feast. — Farrar, Eccles. Dict. s.v.; Eadie, Eccles. Cyclop. s.v.