Today In Fact, 22 September

We owe our horror of killing unarmed civilians, our repugnance to genocide in large measure to St. Maurice, whose feast we celebrate today. An African from Thebes, Maurice was the leader of the legendary Theban Legion in the Roman Army. Born in 250 AD, Maurice and the entire Theban Legion were Christians.

During the reign of the Emperor Maximian, the Theban Legion was ordered to murder the citizens of the Swiss town of Arcaunum because they were Christians. The entire legion of 6,666 men refused the order and laid down its arms.

Another legion was despatched to mete out the punishment. They killed every one of the men of the Theban Legion including the dogs.

Today at least one African country is named after St. Maurice; Mauritania, many towns are called St. Mortiz and over 650 religious foundations have St. Maurice as their patron. St. Maurice became the patron of the Hapsburgs and is often depicted with the spear of Longinus, the spear that is said to have pierced Jesus’ side.

– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (