Holy Theban Legion, Martyrs – Sept. 22

In the year 286, a most remarkable affair occurred; a legion of
soldiers, consisting of six thousand men, contained none but
Christians. This legion was called the Theban Legion, because the
men were Egyptian Christians who had been recruited from and
stationed in Thebias in Upper Egypt. The Theban Legion were
quartered in the east until the emperor Maximian ordered them to
march to Gaul, to assist him against the rebels of Burgundy. It was the
custom of the Romans to move troops from extreme parts of the
empire to avoid the problem of Roman-trained soldiers participating
in uprisings to free their native lands.
…Egyptians accepted Christianity so very rapidly to the extent that
the Romans had to exercise a series of persecutions in an attempt to
suppress the growth of a religion which openly defied the divinity of
the emperor. The Roman Edict of 202 A.D. decreed that Christian
conversion should be stopped at all costs. The edict decreed that
every citizen should always carry a certificate issued by the local
authorities testifying that he had offered sacrifice to the gods. Those
who refused to conform were tortured with unprecedented ferocity.
Some were beheaded, others were thrown to the lions and others were
burnt alive…regardless of age or sex.
…While serving in France, the Holy Theban Legion refused to
worship pagan deities, or possibly refused to massacre the local
innocent populace. They were supposed to be pressured to obey by
witnessing the beheading of some of their officers but refused.
Reportedly, Maximian brought in another legion to slay the Holy
Theban Legion Christians. They were all slain with the sword. They
never resisted in any way. Putting aside their weapons, they offered
their necks to the executioners. They kept just one thing in their
minds, that they were bearing witness to Him who was lead to death
without protest, and who, like a lamb, opened not His mouth; but that
now, they themselves, sheep in the Lord’s flock, were to be massacred
as if by ravaging wolves. Thus, by the savage cruelty of this tyrant,
that fellowship of the saints was perfected.