Today the Church remembers the Martyrs Sergius (Sergios) and Bacchus (Bakkos) in Syria (290-303).
The Holy Martyrs Sergios and Bakkhos were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Malevolent persons made a denunciation to Maximian, that his two military-commanders did not honour the pagan gods, and this was considered a crime against the state.
The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the veracity of the denunciation, ordered Sergios and Bakkhos to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they answered, that they honoured but the One God and Him only did they worship.
Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank, and then having dressed them in feminine clothing to lead them through the city with an iron chain on the neck, for the mockery by the people. Then he again summoned Sergios and Bakkhos to him and in a friendly approach advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables and instead return to the Roman gods. But the saints remained steadfast. Then the emperor commanded that they be dispatched to the governor of the eastern part of Syria, Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergios and Bakkhos. “My fathers and benefactors! — he addressed the saints, — have pity not only upon yourself, but also on me: I want not to condemn ye to martyrdom”. The holy martyrs replied, that for them life — is Christ, and death for Him — its acquisition. In a rage Antiochus ordered Bakkhos to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr expired to the Lord. They shod Sergios with iron shoes inset with nails and sent him off to another city, where he was beheaded with the sword (c. year 300).
© 2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.
Troparion of Ss Sergius and Bacchus Tone 1
In contest you were victorious warriors of the Trinity / and an illustrious pair of martyrs, / Sergius godly champion, and Bacchus noble athlete. / In the radiancy of your glory you shelter those who cry: / Glory to Him Who has strengthened you; glory to Him Who has crowned you; // glory to Him Who through you works healings for all.
Kontakion of Ss Sergius and Bacchus Tone 3
Let us gather and crown with praises / the noble martyrs and brothers in the Faith, / Sergius the warrior of the Trinity / and Bacchus who with him in tortures persevered in praising Christ // the Prizegiver and Creator of all.