Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sts. Sergius and Bacchus: Saints to Remember on All Saints' Day

This coming Sunday is All Saints' Day, which follows after All Hallow's Eve (Halloween) and All Souls' Day (hat tip to my Catholic and Orthodox Brothers and Sisters!).

For this day I want to lift up Sts. Sergius and Bacchus:

"Sergius and Bacchus were young Roman nobles and high ranking legionnaires in the Roman army stationed in late third/early fourth century Syria. For refusing to enter the Temple of Jupiter with fellow officers to make offerings there, they were stripped of their military garb and then humiliated by being paraded in heavy chains through the streets dressed in women's clothing.

In prison, while singing and praying, they were visited by angels who comforted them. Calling each other "brother," they claimed that in their "union" they became as one, as well as at one with Christ. Before Sergius was beheaded, Bacchus, who had been killed first, appeared to him as an angel wearing military garb.

The tomb of Saint Sergius became a famous shrine and was honoured by great gatherings of Christians because of the frequent miracles there. For nearly a thousand years Sergius and Bacchus were the heavenly protectors of the Byzantine army. Many early Christian churches bore the name of Sergius (sometimes with Bacchus), and his veneration was extraordinarily widespread and popular throughout the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and among the Slavs. The nomads of the desert invoked Sergius as their special protector. Christian Arabs continue to revere Sergius and Bacchus as their special patron saints.

During the Middle Ages, the relationship of Sergius and Bacchus was considered an example of compassionate union based on agape (brotherly love) and mutual respect.

Saints Sergius and Bacchus were counted among the patrons of soldiers and wandering warrior knights. Today they are invoked by Gay people and anyone persecuted or marginalised by the authorities for daring to follow their heart and conscience. Sts. Sergius and Bacchus are also venerated by spiritual dissidents and Christian non-conformists who refusing to 'go along with the crowd' do not lead an 'ordinary life'."

We need all the saints we can find, living and dead!

Pace, B

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