March 7 - Martyrs Maurice and his son, Photinus, and Martyrs Theodore, Philip, and 70 soldiers, at Apamea in Syria
Saint Maurice, a military commander of Syrian Apamea, suffered in the year 305 under the emperor Maximian Galerius (305-311) together with his son Photinus and seventy soldiers under his command (only two of the soldiers’ names are known, Theodore and Philip).
During a persecution, pagan priests reported to the emperor that Maurice was spreading the faith in Christ. Brought to trial, Maurice, his son, and his soldiers firmly confessed their faith and they yielded neither to entreaties nor to threats. They were then beaten without mercy, burned with fire and raked with iron hooks. Young Photinus, having endured the tortures, was beheaded by the sword before the very eyes of his father. But this cruel torment did not break Maurice, who was happy that his son had been granted the martyr’s crown.
Even more subtle tortures then were devised for the martyrs: they were led to a swampy place full of mosquitoes, wasps, and gnats, and they were tied to trees, having their bodies smeared with honey. The insects fiercely stung and bit the martyrs, who were weakened by hunger and thirst.
The saints endured these torments for ten days, but they did not cease praying and glorifying God until finally the Lord put an end to their sufferings. The wicked torturer gave orders to behead them and leave their bodies exposed without burial, but Christians secretly buried the venerable relics of the holy martyrs by night at the place of their horrible execution.
Your holy martyrs O Lord, through their sufferings
have received incorruptible crowns from You, our God.
For having Your strength, they laid low their adversaries,
and shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through their intercessions, save our souls!