St. Maurice and The Theban legion numbered more than six thousand men. The legion had been conscripted from the very Christian areas surrounding Thebes, Egypt hence the name of the legion. They marched from the East into Gaul, and proved their loyalty at once to their Emperor and to their God. They were encamped near the Lake of Geneva, under the Emperor Maximian, when they got orders to offer sacrifices to the Roman gods and turn their swords against the Christian population. This Christian legion refused to obey the order. In his fury Maximian ordered them to be “decimated”, meaning every tenth soldier killed as an example.

The order was executed once and again, but they endured this without a murmur or an effort to defend themselves. St. Maurice, the chief captain in this legion of martyrs, encouraged the rest to persevere and follow their comrades to heaven. “Know, O Emperor,” he said, “that we are your soldiers, but we are servants also of the true God. In all things lawful we will most readily obey, but we cannot stain our hands in this innocent blood. We, have seen our comrades slain, and we rejoice at their honor, We have arms, but we resist not, for we had rather die without shame than live by sin.” As the massacre began, these generous soldiers flung down their arms, offered their necks to the sword, and suffered themselves to be butchered in silence. When the rest of the men remained stubborn, he killed more, and finally slaughtered everyone who was left.

The name of the town of Saint-Moritz, Switzerland preserves the memory of St. Maurice and the Theban Legion.

Known members of the Legion include
Saint Alexander of Bergamo
Saint Candidus the Theban
Saint Exuperius
Saint Innocent the Theban
Saint Maurice
Saint Secundus the Theban
Saint Ursus the Theban
Saint Victor of Agaunum
Saint Victor of Xanten
Saint Victor the Theban
Saint Vitalis of Agaunum

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  1. Decimation was a terrible punishment. As it claimed the lives of the innocent as well as the guilty. Wasn’t just a Roman thing either. Apparently decimation has been used as recently as 1941.

  2. I too can only say WOW. What a witness to their faith. I pray I am never tested in such a manner, but if I am please Lord, let me have just a bit of their strength and courage!

  3. This story is valuable. I would NOT go to gay glory, for Roma, but given a chance, I’d change my name, to MOHAMED. This vanity did not establish civilization. You need constitutional rule, or get a code, better than the Americans do it. This offers a clue, like the Armenian outcome, as to what is in store, for North America.

  4. please interced for my family and give us the courage to stand with the all the angels and saints and especially st maurice and the legions and give our lives for GOd our creator and redeemer. work miracles in the life of my grandson that he too may choose to serve and obey God,s words and to give honor and glory and praise every day to our heavenly father and mama maurice pray for us.and grant us the peace which comes from God.

  5. Dear Saint Maurice and all the Theban legion: Please pray for all our military men to stand for their faith and not cave into the pressure to conform to this culture’s standards. Also, please pray for us, the Church Militant, that we may also stand for Christ and our faith in HIM and not bow to the forces of compromise and “going along to get along” just to survive. Help us by yur great intercession to be BRAVE and to TRUST IN GOD!


  6. Dear St. Maurice, please intercede to Jesus for us to be strong in our faith. Please ask Jesus to always give us good health and forgive us of our transgressions. Let His Spirit Flow through me and my family – Amen.


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