Holy Innocents, in the New Testament, children of Bethlehem "from two years old and under," killed by the order of Herod the Great in the attempt to destroy the infant Jesus. The Innocents have been venerated in the Christian Church as martyrs since ancient times. In the Eastern Church they are known as the Holy Children. Their feast, formerly known in England as Childermas, is Dec. 28.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.