Thursday, May 27, 2010

A new icon of the early Christian martyr, St Maximilian - executed for refusing to join the army

DION: But what harm do soldiers do?




This was sent out by Frank Cordaro.  I am sending it to this Elist to see if there is a belief in re-incarnation.  


"Jim Forest sent the attached photo of a new icon of Saint Maximilian

painted by iconographer Jerry Holsopple. St Maximilian, an early

Chrisitan martyr was executed for refusing to join the army. It is

posted in a special icon collection of Jim's at


Jim Forest

Kanisstraat 5

1811 GJ Alkmaar

The Netherlands




Commemoration on the Church calendar: March 12


St. Maximilian, Martyr (A. D. 295)


The passion of St Maximilian is one of that small collection of

precious documents that is an authentic, contemporary and

unembroidered account of the trial and death of an early martyr. It

runs as follows:


In the consulate of Tuscus and Anulinus, on March 12, at Theveste in

Numidia, [note: Now Tebessa in Algeria. It is suggested that this is a

copyist's mistake, and that the martyrdom was really somewhere near

Carthage. Cf. the penultimate paragraph."] Fabius Victor was brought

before the court, together with Maximilian. The public prosecutor,

Pompeian, opened the case, and said, 'Fabius Victor is here with

Caesar's commissary, Valerian Quintian. I demand that Maximilian, son

of Victor, a conscript suitable for service, be measured.' The

proconsul Dion asked the young man his name, and he answered, 'What is

the good of replying? I cannot enlist, for I am a Christian'; and

added when the proconsul told the usher to take his height, 'I cannot

serve, I cannot do evil. I am a Christian.' The proconsul repeated his

order, and the usher reported that Maximilian measured five feet ten

inches. Then the proconsul said he was to be given the military badge,

but Maximilian persisted, 'Never! I cannot be a soldier.'


DION: You must serve or die.


MAXIMILIAN: I will never serve. You can cut off my head, but I will

not be a soldier of this world, for I am a soldier of Christ.

[Footnote: "It was this insistence of the early Christians on being

soldiers of Christ that gave us our word 'pagan': paganus=a civilian.

Cf. Shorter Oxford Dictionary, edition of 1936."]


DION: What has put these ideas into your head?


MAXIMILIAN: My conscience and He who has called me.


DION (to Fabius Victor): Put your son right.


VICTOR: He knows what he believes, and he will not change.


DION (to Maximilian): Be a soldier and accept the emperor's badge.

[Footnote: "A leaden seal (bulla), worn around the neck. Cf. the

modern identity disc."]


MAXIMILIAN: Not at all. I carry the mark of Christ my God already.


DION: I shall send you to your Christ at once.


MAXIMILIAN: I ask nothing better. Do it quickly, for there is my glory.


DION (to the recruiting-officer): Give him his badge.


MAXIMILIAN: I will not take the badge. If you insist, I will deface

it. I am a Christian, and I am not allowed to wear that leaden seal

around my neck. For I already carry the sacred sign of the Christ, the

Son of the living God, whom you know not, the Christ who suffered for

our salvation, whom God gave to die for our sins. It is He whom all we

Christians serve, it is He whom we follow, for He is the Lord of life,

the Author of our salvation.


DION: Join the service and accept the sear, or else you will perish miserably.


MAXIMILIAN: I shall not perish: my name is even now before God. I

refuse to serve.


DION: You are a young man and the profession of arms befits your

years. Be a soldier.


MAXIMILIAN: My army is the army of God, and I cannot fight for this

world. I tell you, I am a Christian.


DION: There are Christian soldiers serving our rulers Diocletian and

Maximian, Constantius and Galerius.


MAXIMILIAN: That is their business. I also am a Christian, and I cannot serve.


DION: But what harm do soldiers do?


MAXIMILIAN: You know well enough.


DION: If you will not do your service I shall condemn you to death for

contempt of the army.


MAXIMILIAN: I shall not die. If I go from this earth my soul will live

with Christ my lord.


DION: Write his name down....Your impiety makes you refuse military

service, and you shall be punished accordingly as a warning to others.


He then read the sentence: 'Maximilian has refused the military oath

through impiety. He is to be beheaded.'


MAXIMILIAN: God liveth!


Maximilian's age was twenty-one years, three months and eighteen days.

On his way to death he said to the assembled Christians, 'Beloved

brethren, make haste to attain the vision of God and to deserve a

crown like mine with all your strength and with the deepest longing.'

He was radiant; and, turning to his father, he said, 'That cloak you

got ready for when I was a soldier, give it to the lictor. The fruits

of this good work will be multiplied an hundredfold. May I welcome you

in Heaven and glorify God with you!'


Almost at once his head was cut off.


A matron named Pompeiana obtained Maximilian's body and had it carried

in her litter to Carthage, where she buried it close to the holy

Cyprian, not far from the palace.


Victor went home joyfully, thanking God for having allowed him to send

such a gift to Heaven, whither he was not long in following his son.



The text of the passio is in Acta Sanctorum, March, vol. ii., and

Ruinart, Acta sincera.*See Allard, Histoire des Persecutions, vol. iv;

Delehaye, Les Passions des martyrs... pp. 104-110. In the third

century the Roman army was recruited chiefly from volunteers, but the

sons of veterans were under obligation to serve. In the Roman

Martyrology, St Maximilian is called Mamilianus, and the place of his

martyrdom is erroneously given as Rome.




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