The story of the Maccabees, and their heroic struggle to free the Hebrew nation from the godless rule of Antiochus Epiphanes, is told in the Old Testament books of the Maccabees. (If your Bible does not contain these books, get one that does!) The wicked king once commanded all the Jews to eat pork, in violation of the Law of Moses.
The seven pious youths, together with their teacher Eleazar and their mother Solomonia, were arrested and, when all of them refused to transgress the Law, were subjected to the cruelest tortures. Eleazar died first, by burning, then each of the youths, from the eldest to the youngest. All stood firm in their faith until the end. When Solomonia saw her youngest son, a mere boy, seized for burning, she threw herself into the fire, commending her soul to God. This was in the year 168 BC.
Troparion (Tone 7)
Let us praise the seven Maccabees,
with their mother Solomonia and their teacher Eleazar;
they were splendid in lawful contest
as guardians of the teachings of the Law.
Now as Christ’s holy martyrs they ceaselessly intercede for the world.
Kontakion (Tone 2)
Seven pillars of the Wisdom of God
and seven lampstands of the divine Light,
all-wise Maccabees, greatest of the martyrs before the time of the martyrs, with them ask the God of all to save those who honor you.