The Martyrs Sergius and Bacchus in Syria were appointed to high positions in the army by the emperor Maximian (284-305), who did not know that they were Christians. Envious people informed Maximian that his two trusted counselors did not honor the pagan gods. This was considered to be a crime against the state.
The emperor, wanting to convince himself of the truth of the accusation, ordered Sergius and Bacchus to offer sacrifice to the idols, but they replied that they honored the and worshiped only Him.Maximian commanded that the martyrs be stripped of the insignia of military rank (their belts, gold pendants, and rings), and then dressed them in feminine clothing. They were led through the city with an iron chains around their necks, and the people mocked them. Then he summoned Sergius and Bacchus to him again and in a friendly manner advised them not to be swayed by Christian fables, but to return to the Roman gods. The saints refuted the emperor's words, and demonstrated the folly of worshiping the pagan gods.
The emperor commanded that they be sent to the governor of the eastern part of Syria , Antiochus, a fierce hater of Christians. Antiochus had received his position with the help of Sergius and Bacchus. "My fathers and benefactors!" he said. "Have pity on yourselves, and also on me. I do not want to condemn my benefactors to cruel tortures." The holy martyrs replied, "For us life is Christ, and to die is gain." The enraged Antiochus ordered Bacchus to be mercilessly beaten, and the holy martyr surrendered his soul to the Lord. They shod Sergius with iron sandals with nails in their soles and sent him to another city, where he was beheaded with the sword.As I read this, I was thinking how God placed these two men in high military/government positions to bring glory to His kingdom. There was no backing down for these guys and no hiding or waffling their faith. They had obviously earned the respect of their superiors in the difficult realm of politics (although that didn't stop those superiors from persecuting them...reluctantly...oh, sorry guys, I think you're really great but I'm gonna have to chop off your heads anyway, bummer). Then I was thinking, I wonder what those same martyrs think of our American "Christian" politicians. Just how transparent and committed are they when their lives *aren't* on the line? Our Christianity must look almost unrecognizable to the martyrs who died for their faith under persecutions such as wild animals and beheadings. We often talk in this nation how Christians are placed by God into positions of power but sometimes I have to wonder, are those politicians serving in the spirit of Sergius and Bacchus or Antiochus and Maximian?