Martyrdom of St. Sergius the companion of St. Bacchus
On this day we commemorate the martyrdom of St. Sergius, the Companion of St. Bacchus. He was a favoured high ranking officer in the court of Emperor Maximianus. Because Maximianus was pagan and because the two saints were Christians he sent them to Antiochus, King of Syria, to torture them and slay them if they did not give up their faith.
Antiochus inflicted severe torture upon St. Bacchus and when he did not dissuade him from keeping to his Christianity, he ordered his men to slay him. After he was slain they cast him into the River Euphrates and the waves threw his body on the shore. The Lord sent an eagle to guard the pure body and inspired two saints to take it and they buried it with great respect.
St. Sergius remained mournful for him until he saw in his sleep Bacchus in a beautiful brightly shining palace; so his soul was exceedingly comforted. After this, the Governor commanded his men to drive nails into St. Sergius' feet and be send to the City of El-Rusafa (on the east side of Baghdad, Iraq) tied to the tail of a horse. His blood flowed down on the ground.
On their way they encountered a damsel who was a virgin and she gave them water to drink. When she saw the condition the Saint was in, she pitied him because of his youth. The Saint asked her to follow him to El-Rusafa to take his body, and she followed him.
The Governor of that city was a friend of St. Sergius, and it was through him that he had this position. He tried to convince him to change his mind to save his life. And when he did not accept his advice, he ordered that his head be cut off. That virgin drew near and received the blood which flowed from his holy neck in some wool.
His body was kept until the end of the days of strife when they built a church in his name at El-Rusafa. Fifteen bishops consecrated it and laid his holy body in a coffin made of marble. Those who were present witnessed that a perfumed oil distilled from his body and it healed the sick.
May his prayers be with us. Glory be to God forever. Amen.