December 27, 2016

Holy Martyrs Maurice, His Son Photinos and the Seventy Soldiers With Them

St. Maurice and the Seventy With Him (Feast Day - December 27 & July 1)


To Maurice
Naked Maurice was anointed with honey,
The bees considering this honey sweet to eat.

To the Seventy
Having as companions in the contest seven times ten men,
Maurice also receives fellow dancers.

These Saints lived during the reign of Emperor Maximian (286-305), and were from the city of Apameia which is near the Black Sea. They were royal soldiers according to profession. When the emperor was passing through this city, others accused these Saints of being Christians. Standing before him, they boldly confessed that they were Christians, and for this they were stripped of the belts that they wore, and shut in prison. Three days later they were brought before the tyrant and questioned. Remaining firm in their faith in Christ, they were flogged harshly and cast into fire. Then they were hung from a wooden pole and their sides were lacerated. Maximian wished to punish Maurice further, for he was the superior in rank over the others, so he ordered that his son, whose name was Photinos, to be decapitated.

When the emperor saw that Maurice and the other Saints firmly keep their faith in Christ, and were not persuaded by him, for this they were taken to a swamp that lay between two rivers and a lake, because it was full of wasps, flies, mosquitos and gnats. There the soldiers stripped the Saints of their clothing, tied them to posts to prevent them from driving away the insects, and they were smothered with honey. It happened that the weather was ideal for this kind of torment, as it was very hot. Then they cast the body of Saint Photinos before his father Maurice, so that he could see it and increase his suffering. When the tormentors had done all these things, they departed. The Holy Martyrs bravely endured this unbearable torment for ten entire days and nights. Then the thrice-blessed ones prayed to God, and they delivered their souls into His hands.