St. Daniel, prophet & Sts. Ananias, Azarias, and Misael

Today, according to my Roman Curia wall calendar, is the feast of St. Daniel, prophet, and of Sts. Ananias, Azarias, and Misael, the three boys in the fiery furnace.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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15 Responses to St. Daniel, prophet & Sts. Ananias, Azarias, and Misael

  1. GeekLady says:

    This is very confusing, my sources tell me Daniel’s feast is on July 21.

  2. Dr Guinness says:

    One of my favourite canticles in the Office is the Song of the Three Boys in the Furnace… Its rhythm and poetry of all Creation being naturally inclined to ‘bless the Lord’ is simply a beautiful way to start a Sunday morning… (one Sunday every four weeks in the new Office…)

    Orate pro nobis!

  3. fvhale says:

    In the Martyrologium Romanum ed. princeps (1584), early version of the Extraordinary Form calendar, the index indicates:
    Ananias, Azarias, & Misael in Babylonioa. 16. Dec.
    Daniel propheta in Babylonia. 21. Iul.
    But none of them appear in the Martyrologium Romanum ed. altera (2004) for the Ordinary Form calendar.

    Since 16. Dec was a Sunday, I can see that Ananias, Azarias, and Misael might have been transferred to the following Monday. But I do not understand Daniel’s presence.

  4. Andreas says:

    There is a wonderful oratorio about this event. Composed by Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783), his “Gesang der drei Juenglinge im Feuerofen (Il cantico de’ tre fanciulli)” is a lovely work written for soli, chorus and orchestra. Thought to have been written sometime before 1731, the Cantico is one of Hasses earliest works and is the first he composed for mixed choir. The opus of sacred music of Hasse has been available on recordings for some time, but this Cantico is indeed a rarity. The only CD recording of which I am aware is on the Koch Schwann label (3-6587-2) and I believe that it might still be available for purchase. If you have not before heard of Hasse or his sacred music of the late Baroque period, might I strongly recommend his Cantico and any of the others available on various CD labels. You can also hear some short extracts from his works on YouTube.

  5. VexillaRegis says:

    @Andreas: Hasse’s music is indeed lovely. I’ve heard one of his arias performed in church by an organist friend, who happens to be his descendant in the direct line!
    Frohe Weihnachten in Tirol!

  6. Father K says:

    Dr Guiness – actually every fortnight on Sundays [Sundays of weeks 1 and 3] plus Lauds on all solemnities, feasts and some memorias.

    fvhale – probably because modern biblical scholarship is confident that all four are merely characters in Mesopotamian legends used by an unknown author in the 2nd century when he wrote the Book of ‘Daniel.’ Even authors such as Kenneth Baker SJ in his work ‘Inside the Bible,’ published by Ignatius Press subscribes to this view. I am not a biblical scholar, just a humble canon lawyer so am not commenting on the truth, likelihood or falsehood of such theories, just saying that is quite possibly why the new Martyrology is silent on this matter, as it is wrt many Old Testament characters who found themselves commemorated in the older Martyrology.

  7. robtbrown says:

    Father K,

    Do you have a page number for the Baker opinion? It is a google book, but I cannot find the text saying that.

  8. acardnal says:

    Father K, robtbrown: I just reviewed my copy of Inside the Bible by Fr. Ken Baker, SJ. The chapter on Daniel makes no mention of “all four are merely characters in Mesopotamian legends.”

  9. Fr AJ says:

    The Orthodox celebrate the feast of St. Daniel and the three young men on Dec. 17. We have St. Daniel on July 21 but I understand some dioceses celebrate him on different days which may be what we have here on Fr. Z’s calendar.

  10. I think there are more than a few errors on the curial calendar.

  11. Fabula Rasa says:

    There is an interesting linguistic connection that might explain the presence of the Three Holy Children at this time of the year. Ananias is of course the Greek form (adopted in Latin Scriptures) of the Hebrew name Chananya (emphasis on the second syllable.) Chananya is a fairly common Hebrew name of the Second Temple period, continuing on through Talmudic times – several rabbis of the Talmud are named Chananya. “Chanan” means grace, and the “Yah” part of the name is an abbreviated form of the name of God. Thus the name means something like God’s grace, or perhaps by the grace of God. The even more common name Yochanan is obviously the same root, and it too has a shortened form of God’s name appended to it, in the prefix rather than the suffix (the yod and the vav part of God’s name, rather than the yod and the heh.) The names are identical in meaning.

    Why Yochanan ended up in Greek as Ioannes rather than a more accurate transliteration is not hard to figure out. Yochanan was among the most common of all Hebrew names by the time Greeks and Jews were coming into regular contact in the area, in the post-Alexandrine era, and it’s easy to see how Jews might choose to “Greekify” their name with the common Greek “es” ending; it’s a pattern of linguistic accommodation that one sees from the Second Temple right through Jewish immigrants to the Lower East Side – a Moshe who becomes Morry, a Shimon who becomes Seymour, a Yitzhak who becomes Irving, etc. So the end result is that thousands of years later we look at “John” and “Ananias” and see no connection there at all, when of course it is the same name. Perhaps the Church in Her wisdom (or should that be in this week of Sapientiatide Her Wisdom?) places this feast here, in the final week of Advent, as an echo of the Baptist, whose rough voice cries throughout the season, calling us to repentance and to the continual glorification of both His comings. Of course that might just be fancy on my part; I’m pretty sure no one devising the liturgical calendar when this memorial was placed on it had much of a nodding acquaintance with Hebrew, or its nuances. But sometimes the wisdom of the calendar is deeper than the human hands tinkering with it, and breathes with the Spirit of Wisdom. So I will let my rather Talmudic little parsing stand, I think.

  12. Father K says:

    The reference in Fr Baker’s book is page 171. He does not say the author is making use of Mesopotomian legends but he does say that the Book of Daniel is the work of an unknown author of the 2nd century BC. Thus he implies that the material he is working with comes from traditions handed down from the Babylonian exile. More radical scholars will call the legends without historical value, whereas more moderate commentators will give weight to the tradition that these stories [legends in the broader sense] depict actual historical persons and events. Sorry if I was confusing – I was making the distinction in my mind while writing, maybe that was not transferred to the text. However, there are sufficient numbers working for the CDW to ensure that the Martyrology reflects a more radical view.

  13. fvhale says:

    If I may quote a bit over a paragraph from Introduction to the Bible by Fr. John Laux, copyright 1932 by Benziger Brothers, and 1990 by TAN Books, pp. 184-185:

    Of all the books of the Bible, none presents so many difficult problems as the Prophecy of Daniel.
    The Book of Daniel is arranged in no historical order.
    It has come down to us with different parts written in different languages–some in Hebrew, some in Chaldaic [Aramaic], and some in Greek.
    There are unusual changes of construction throughout, the first person frequently alternating with the third.
    There are repetitions which it is hard to explain, and additions appended to the book which appear to have no connection with the main body of the content.
    Certain historical details seem to be at variance with the Books of Kings and with discoveries made in Babylonia in recent times. Baltasar is constantly referred to as king and is called the son of Nebuchodonosor, wheras the Baltasar of history was the son of Nabonidus and never king. A certain Darius the Mede is made to reign in Babylon before Cyrus the Great, whereas the only Darius that history knows reigned over the Persian Empire as the second successor of Cyrus,…
    These are the chief difficulties that confront the reader of Daniel. Some of them can be satisfactorily solved; others will perhaps never be solved. One thing appears certain: the Book of Daniel as we have it now was not written by Daniel the Prophet, but is a compilation of a much later date, probably about the year 300 B.C. … the Book of Daniel may have ben composed by some inspired writer living long after the Daniel of history. ‘It has never been a point of Catholic doctrine,’ says Father Hugh Pope [1869-1946, English Dominican], the eminent Scripture scholar, ‘that the Book of Daniel was actually written by him, nor even that it was written in the sixth century B.C….’”

  14. Luvadoxi says:

    I always learned that the three young men’s names were Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Would those be the Chaldean names?

  15. acardnal says:

    Luvadoxi said, “Would those be the Chaldean names?”

    Yes.