The Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Envious people informed Maximian that his two trusted counselors did not honor the pagan gods. This was considered to be a crime against the state.
The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the truth of the accusation, ordered Sergius and Bacchus to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they replied that they honored the One God and worshiped only Him.
Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank (their belts, gold pendants, and rings), and then dressed them in feminine clothing. They were led through the city with an iron chains around their necks, and the people mocked them.
Then he summoned Sergius and Bacchus to him again and in a friendly manner advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables, but to return to the Roman gods. The saints refuted the emperor’s words, and demonstrated the folly of worshiping the pagan gods.
The emperor commanded that they be sent to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergius and Bacchus. “My fathers and benefactors!” he said.
“Have pity on yourselves, and also on me. I do not want to condemn my benefactors to cruel tortures.” The holy martyrs replied, “For us life is Christ, and to die is gain.”
The enraged Antiochus ordered Bacchus to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr surrendered his soul to the Lord. They shod Sergius with iron sandals with nails in their soles and sent him to another city, where he was beheaded with the sword.
Troparion of Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria
Your holy martyrs Sergius and Bacchus, 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!
Their honourable bodies were buried by Christians. Through the will of God, their precious heads are sheltered today in the Metropolitan Cathedral in Craiova, and fragments of their relics can also be found at the church of Cotroceni Palace in Bucharest.
Martyrs Julian the Priest and Caesarius the Deacon († 303-305) suffered martyrdom during Emperor Diocletian’s reign.
Troparion — Tone 4
O God of our Fathers, / always act with kindness towards us; / take not Your mercy from us, / but guide our lives in peace / through the prayers of Julian and Caesarius.
Holy Martyr Polychronius was the son of a landowner, raised with a love for work and in Christian piety. Reaching maturity, Polychronius left his parents’ home for Constantinople and began to work for one of the rich vineyard owners.
The vineyard owner was amazed at the youth’s love for toil and the ascetic life. For his fine work the saint received much money, with which he built a church. Soon he was ordained to the priesthood. According to Tradition, Saint Polychronius participated in the First Ecumenical Council. He was martyred by Arian heretics at the altar of the church (4th Century).
Troparion — Tone 1
By sharing in the ways of the Apostles, / you became a successor to their throne. / Through the practice of virtue, / you found the way to divine contemplation, O inspired one of God; / by teaching the word of truth without error, / you defended the Faith, even to the shedding of your blood. / Hieromartyr Polychronius entreat Christ God to save our souls.
Tr. by Oca.org