A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
First day of Eid. Optional and longest third day of Hajj on the first day of Eid al-Adha (Eid ul-Adha, Id-ul-Azha, Id-ul-Zuha, Hari Raya Haji, Bakr-id, Grand Eid, the Feast of Sacrifice, The Festival of Sacrifice, Grand Eid), the most important Muslim feast, on 10 Dhul al-Hijjah in the Islamic lunar calendar. There are normally 2 million pilgrims gathered at sunrise in the rocky area of Muzdalifah, 8 km from Mount Arafat where they had spent the previous Day of Arafah praying until sunset. After prayers at Muzdalifah at sunrise, to re-enact the pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) of Ibrahim (Abraham), pilgrims collect between 49 and 70 pebbles the size of date stones for a symbolic stoning of the devil ritual and then return to Mina. For the stoning, they go to where Shaytan (Satan) tried to dissuade Ibrahim from carrying out the divine instruction he had received. Three pillars mark the places where Ibrahim was tested by the whisperings of Shaytan: Jamarah al-Aqaba (the big pillar); Jamarah al-Wusta (middle pillar); and Jamarah al-Ula (the small pillar), about 150 m and 120 m apart. In 2005, the pillars were rebuilt as large wall structures, to provide bigger targets. After a moment of silence, the first seven stones are thrown at the Jamarah Al-Aqabah pillar, reciting ‘Allah u Akbar’ (الله اكبر, Allah is Greatest) with every throw, stoning the wall of Satan being a reminder of the faith that one should have in Allah (God). This is repeated for the other two pillars. Eid al-Adha continues with pilgrims, if they wish, sacrificing a goat, cow or camel, slaughtering their own sacrifice or appointing someone to do it on their behalf. Muslims all over the world sacrifice an animal if they can afford to and much of the meat is distributed to the poor or shared with relatives and friends. After the sacrifice, men’s heads are shaved or some hair is trimmed and women cut a little of their hair. Normal dress is resumed but intimacy between spouses is not allowed. Pilgrims then return to the Masjid al-Haram Sacred Mosque in Makkah to perform a mandatory 7 circumlocutions of the Kaaba (الكعبة, Cube) before 11 Muharram on 19 August. Pilgrims pray and drink copiously of the water from the Zamzam Well (بِئْرُ زَمْزَمَ), which is in the Mosque 20 m east of the Kaaba. The night is spent away from Makkah at Mina to complete the third day of Hajj. Eid al-Adha (al-Eid al-Kabir) will continue to 23 July or later, to commemorate Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son Ismail, signifying trust and total surrender to the will of the Almighty Allah. This year marks the first year that resident local women were controversially allowed, as part of cultural and social changes in the Kingdom, to participate without being accompanied by a male chaperone. In Egypt, the festival is often called Eid Al Lahma (Meat Eid). The Eid al-Adha Durbar has been a religious and equestrian festival in northern Nigerian cities for over 200 years and there is also a similar end-of-Ramadan Eid al-Fitr festival with dancing, singing, drumming and lute playing. The giving of money, food or clothes to charity and the homeless or poor is a key tradition of Eid al-Adha. The greeting is Eid Mubarak,عيد مبارك. Image: see.news.
St Macrina (Macrina the Younger) (c330-79). Eastern, Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodoxy and Anglican Communion Feast Day and, with her younger brother St Gregory Bishop of Nyssa (dc394), Church of England Lesser Festival commemorating the death of the Cappadocian daughter of Basil the Elder and granddaughter of Macrina the Elder. Macrina the Younger’s father arranged for her to marry but her fiancé died before the wedding. After having been betrothed, Macrina did not believe it appropriate to marry another man but saw Christ as her eternal bridegroom and devoted herself to her religion as a theologian in the Early Christian Church, a nun who helped develop monasticism. She was sister to two other Bishops: St Basil of Caesarea and St Peter of Sebaste, founders a monastic tradition and leaders of own monastic communities. Another younger brother was the famous Christian jurist Naucratius. Sts Macrina and Peter founded a convent and monastery respectively close by each other on the banks of the River Iris (Yeşilırmak, Green River, Ἶρις), with St Basil’s monastery on the opposite bank. St Gregory presents her as choosing the devoted study of Scripture and other sacred writings and he wrote the Life of Macrina on her virginity, asceticism, humility, sanctity, devotion to prayer and the spiritual education of her brother Peter. Even when dying on her family’s estate in Pontus, which with the help of her brother Peter she had turned into a monastery and convent, Macrina continued to live a life of sanctity, refusing a bed and instead choosing to lie on the ground. Gregory composed a Dialogue on the Soul and Resurrection (Peri Psyches kai Anastaseos) entitled Ta Makrinia to commemorate her, in which he purports to describe the conversation he had with Macrina at her death, in a literary form modelled on Plato’s Phaedo (Φαίδων, On The Soul). Venerated in Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic Churches, Oriental Orthodoxy, Anglican Communion, Lutheranism. Lutheran Commemoration 14 June, with Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory Nazianzus. Image: za.pinterest.com.
Prayer Thou, O Lord, hast freed us from the fear of death. Thou hast made the end of this life the beginning to us of true life. Thou for a season restest our bodies in sleep and awakest them again at the last trump. Thou givest our earth, which Thou hast fashioned with Thy hands, to the earth to keep in safety. One day Thou wilt take again what Thou hast given, transfiguring with immortality and grace our mortal and unsightly remains. Thou, O Lord, have saved us from sin, breaking the head of the dragon who seized us with his jaws in the yawning gulf of disobedience. Having broken the gates of hell and brought to nought the power of death, give us an angel of light to conduct us to a place of refreshment. Amen
St Gennys (St Genesius the Martyr). Commemoration of Translation to Lismore, Helston after his death of the Head of Seventh-Century Celtic Holy Man, a hermit and monk seeking solitude and a ready supply of water. Gennys set up a stone cross by a small wooden hut and preached in the open air, baptising members of the Cornish tribe of the Dumnonii in his source of water, which became known as The Holy Well. The site was established as the Holy Place in the locality on the high cliffs of the North Cornish coast. The pagans were very quickly attracted to the Holy Man and he taught them the Christian message but was martyred for his faith. A small Saxon church dedicated to him was built by the Holy St Gennys’ Well when the Anglo-Saxon King Æthelstan arrived in Cornwall for his final conquest in 926. The well used for the baptisms was later a source of water for the local people and was last restored in 1927. Head-relics now enshrined in the canons’ church at Launceston. Feast Day 2 June. Patron of Cornwall. Image: patheos.com.