Home > Lives of Saints > Sergius & Bacchus the Great Martyrs of Syria

Sergius & Bacchus the Great Martyrs of Syria

Your holy martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, O Lord,
through their sufferings have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!

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.

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REFLECTION

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A vision of St. Andrew the Fool-for-Christ:

Once, St. Andrew was sitting with his disciple Epiphanius, talking about the salvation of the soul. Just then, a demon approached Epiphanius and began setting traps to distract his thoughts, but did not dare to approach Andrew.
Andrew cried out: “Depart from here, impure adversary!”
The devil drew back and replied maliciously: “You are my adversary, such as no other in all of Constantinople!”

Andrew did not drive him away immediately, but permitted him to speak. And the devil began: “I feel that the time is coming when my work will be finished. At that time, men will be worse than I, as children will be even more wicked than adults. Then I will rest and will not teach men anything anymore, since they themselves will carry out my will in everything.”

Andrew asked him: “In what sins do your kind rejoice the most?”

The devil replied: “The service of idols, slander, malice against one’s neighbor, the sodomite sin, drunkenness and avarice-in this we rejoice the most.”

Andrew further asked him: “And how do you tolerate it when someone who first served you rejects you and your works?”

The devil replied: “You know that better than I do; we find it difficult to tolerate, but we are comforted by this: we will probably bring them back to us-for many who have rejected us and turned to God have come back to us again.”

After the evil spirit had said this and much more, St. Andrew breathed on him and he disappeared.

Source: The Prologue from Ohrid (October 7)

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Categories: Lives of Saints
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