Saints Sergius and Bacchus
Date of celebration: 07/10
Saints Sergius and Bacchus served in the military ranks of Emperor Maximian. They were distinguished by great valor on the battlefields, but also by prudence in their daily lives. That is why the emperor awarded them the offices of the prefect of the Kentilian school and the second duke, respectively
When he learned that his two elite soldiers were Christians, he didn’t want to believe it at all. In order to be convinced, he organized ceremonies with sacrifices in a pagan temple and invited Sergius and Bacchus to attend them. The two Christian soldiers refused and confessed Christ with a courageous attitude.
Enraged then, the emperor ordered and they were stripped of the honors of their offices. Then, after they had been played upon and dismissed in various ways, they sent them to a cruel duke of the East, Antiochus. He with unprecedented cruelty scourged Bacchus to death. As for Sergius, because he had once benefited him, he proposed, after denying Christ, to spare his life. Sergius’ brave answer was the words of the Apostle Paul “I live Christ and died gain” (to the Philippians, verse 21). To me, said Sergius, Christ is life. But even dying is a gain, because in this way I will be fully united with Christ. Then Antiochus immediately gave the order and he was beheaded.
In 547 AD the Emperor Justinian erected in Constantinople a brilliant temple in honor of the Holy Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, the so-called “Little Hagia Sophia”, where he deposited their Holy Relics.
In the West, many cities claim Relics of the Martyrs, the first being Venice, where Relics attributed to them are kept in the Church of Agios Petros in Kastello. These relics were recognized in 1991 AD.
In Pavia, in the Benedictine Monastery of Agios Filikos, the Relics of the two Martyrs, donated by Emperor Otto II, are kept. These Relics are included in the heirlooms brought with her to the West by his wife, the Byzantine Princess Theofano, and for this reason there are no doubts about their authenticity.
According to another tradition, in 1152 AD, during the Crusades, Count Geoffrey of Andegavos transported Relics of the Martyrs from Syria to his lands.
Relics of the two Martyrs are even kept in the Church of Agios Martinos in Heiligenstadt, as evidenced by a seal of Pope Paul II, dated 1469 AD. According to the Vollandists, these relics were transported in the 13th or 14th century AD. from Syria.
Relics of the Martyrs are even kept in the Monastery of Wiessenburg in Bohemia, from where in 1354 AD Emperor Charles IV donated part of them to St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.