The Armenian Apostolic Church commemorates on Tuesday, July 9, Daniel the Prophet and his Companions Sts. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, Qahana.am reports.
Daniel is one of the four great prophets of the Old Testament. Nearly all that is known concerning the prophet is derived from the book ascribed to him, which dates back to the VII-VI centuries B.C.
Daniel, a young man who had been captured during the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah was taken to Babylon. There, he received his education in Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s royal court. Soon after, due to his intellect and talents, he was given a high-ranking position in the king’s chancellery.
Daniel became famous when he rescued an innocent woman from the unfounded slander of two men. Having gained greater notoriety, Daniel interpreted a dream had by King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel’s successes arose the envy of the other servants in the royal court. They accused him of worshipping false gods and demanded the king to imprison the prophet. Daniel was thrown into a den of lions. The following day, the king approached the pit to mourn the death of his devoted and wise servant. He was surprised to hear Prophet Daniel responding to his cries of sorrow. Daniel told the king that God sealed the mouths of the lions to protect him from harm. Daniel continued saying that he was innocent and had not wronged the king by his worship of God. The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be released from the lions’ den.
Three young men and companions of Daniel – Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, were also taken to Babylon. Upon their arrival they received new names – Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and were raised and educated in the royal court together with the prophet and protected their faith. Once, during a solemn festival, as everyone worshipped King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden statue, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow down before it. The king ordered the three men thrown into a blazing furnace for the disobedience. Instead of burning, however, they continued to render glory to God and were protected by an angel of heaven. Witnessing the miracle, the king released the three young men, blessed them and worshiped God as well.