Saints & Martyrs

Saint Sergios

Sergios (d. ca. 303), early Roman martyr. According to legend, Sergios and his friend Bakchos were high-ranking soldiers in the Roman army and secret Christian converts. When their faith was discovered, they were both severely tortured and killed: Bakchos during the torture itself, Sergios by subsequent beheading. They were buried and later enshrined in Resafa (in modern-day Syria), which for a time was renamed Sergiopolis and was a popular pilgrimage site.

Excerpt from The Passion of Sts. Serge and Bacchus

Straightaway the emperor sent for them. They entered with the customary retinue of guards and imperial pomp. The emperor received them and went in their company to the temple of Zeus. Once he had entered, Maximian offered libations with the whole army, partook of the sacrificial offerings, and looked around. He did not see the blessed Serge and Bacchus. They had not gone into the temple, because they thought it impious and unholy to see them offering and consuming unclean sacrifices. They stood outside and prayed as with one mouth...

Immediately he sent them to Duke Antiochus, ordering that their entire bodies be bound with heavy chains, and that they be sent thus to Eastern parts through a succession of officials. He also wrote a letter along these lines: "From Maximian, eternal emperor and triumphant ruler of all, greetings to Duke Antiochus. The wisdom of the greatest gods is unwilling that any men should be impious and hostile to their worship, especially shield and spear-bearers of our empire. Wherefore I commend to your severity the vile Serge and Bacchus, convicted with apposite proof of belonging to the unholy sect of the Christians and plainly deserving of the worst punishment, whom I consider unworthy of the administration of imperial justice. If they should be persuaded by you to change their minds and sacrifice to the gods, then treat them with their own innate humanity, free them from the prescribed torments and punishments, assure them of our forgiving kindness and that they will receive back immediately their appropriate military rank and be better off now than they were before. But if they will not be persuaded and persist in their unholy religion, subject them to the severest penalties of the law and remove from them hope of long life with the penalty of the sword. Farewell."

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