Died C. 287

By Catholic News Service     9/25/2019

In the fifth century, Eucherius of Lyons described the legendary martyrdom of Maurice and the Theban Legion, comprised of Christians from Upper Egypt. Maurice was first officer of the legion, sent by Emperor Maximian to Switzerland to put down some rebellious Gauls. When Maximian ordered the soldiers to sacrifice to Roman gods, Maurice and his legion refused. The outraged emperor ordered “decimations” in which one of every 10 men was killed; when the remainder still would not worship Roman gods, Maximian had other soldiers massacre the entire legion of 6,000. Though the number may be exaggerated, a martyrdom of some Christian soldiers seems believable. Maurice is a patron saint of all armies, the Swiss Guard and Austria.