The Holy Martyr Maurice and the 70 soldiers with him
(February 22)

There was a great persecution of Christians in the time of the Emperor Maximian. Maurice was in charge of the local army in the town of Apamea in Syria, and pagans reported him to the Emperor as a Christian and a spreader of Christianity among the soldiers. The Emperor himself came and took him for questioning. Seventy sol-diers were brought before the Emperor with Maurice, among them his son, Photinus. The Emperor was unable to make the heroes waver either with flattery or with threats. To them, they replied: `O Emperor, there in no fear in the wise and strong souls of those who love the Lord.' When the Emperor ordered that their military belts and clothing be stripped from them, they said: `Our God will clothe us with raiment and girdles that are uncorrupting, and with eternal glory'. When the Emperor rebuked them for holding in contempt the military status he had given them, they replied: 'Thine honour is dishonourable, for thou hast forgotten God, who gave thee this royal power.' Then the Emperor ordered that Maurice's son be slain before his eyes, that he might thus intimidate the father and the others. But Maurice said: 'Thou hast fulfilled our desire, O torturer, and sent Photinus the soldier of Christ, on before us.' Then the Emperor sentenced them to a most inhuman death: he had them taken to a marshy place, stripped, bound to trees and smeared with honey, for the mosquitoes, wasps and hornets to eat. They gave their souls to God in terrible torment after ten days, and went to eternal rejoicing with the holy angels in heaven. Christians secretly took their bodies and buried them. These courageous soldiers of Christ suffered in about 305.

* From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
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