Icon of Sts. Sergius &
Bacchus the Romans, martyrs for Christ (late 3rd c.)
Feast: Oct. 7
From the Prolog From Ochrid:
These holy and wonderful martyrs and heroes of the Christian Faith were
at first noblemen at the court of Emperor Maximian. The emperor himself
esteemed them greatly because of their courage, wisdom and fidelity.
But when the emperor heard that his two noblemen were Christians, his
love for them turned into rage. Once, when there was a great
sacrificial offering to idols, the emperor demanded that Sergius and
Bacchus offer sacrifices with him, but they openly refused to obey the
emperor in this. Beside himself with rage, the emperor commanded that
their military garments, rings and emblems be stripped from them and
that they be dressed in women's clothing. He then placed iron hoops
around their necks and paraded them through the streets of the city of
Rome, to be mocked by everyone. Afterward, he sent them to Antiochus,
his deputy in Asia, for torture. Antiochus had risen to his position
with Sergius and Bacchus's help, as they had at one time recommended
him to the emperor. When Antiochus implored them to deny Christ and
save themselves from dishonorable suffering and death, these saints
replied: ``Both honor and dishonor, both life and death-all are the
same to him who seeks the Heavenly Kingdom.'' Antiochus cast Sergius
into prison and ordered that Bacchus be tortured first. His minions
took turns beating the holy Bacchus until his whole body was broken.
Bacchus's holy soul departed his broken and bloodied body, and in the
hands of angels was borne to the Lord. St. Bacchus suffered in the town
of Barbalissos. Then St. Sergius was led out and shod in iron shoes
with inward-protruding nails. He was driven, on foot, to the town of
Rozapha, in Syria, and was beheaded there with the sword. His soul went
to Paradise where, together with his friend Bacchus, he received a
crown of immortal glory from Christ, his King and Lord. These two
wondrous knights of the Christian Faith suffered in about the year 303.
Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, pray to God for us!
Top Icon: Greek, otherwise of
Final Icon: ancient encaustic
from St. Katherine's, Mt. Sinai.