4th century, Dioclétien, the last Pagan Emperor, reigned
on the empire which extended on all the Mediterranean circumference.
Dioclétien which, at the beginning of his reign, had been tolerant with the
Christians –many occupied high military or administrative positions - undertook
to purge the army of its elements which had embraced the Christian religion.
During the autumn 303
Co-emperor Maximien Hercules on a journey to Samosate, capital of
Comagène (province located in current Syria to the north of Alep), decided
to unmask the Christians who could be among
the hierarchy of the legions.
this intention, he invited all the officers to libations in Jupiter’s honor.
All came, except two Christians, Sergius and Bacchus who refused to take
part in ceremonies which parodied the holy scene of Christ.
At once they were condemned to die and were
delivered for the execution to Antiochus, the cruelest prefect of the Byzantine
Empire who chose their torture himself.
was fitted sandals whose sole had been fitted with sharp points and he was made
to run until exhaustion in front of the cart of Antiochus before being
his name, the same as the pagan god of the vine and the wine, Bacchus was thrown
to the ground, was whipped and trodden upon like grape by the army. The Golden
Legend says that "two angels rose up the sky,
while his blood squirted from all his body like pure grape juice".
church canonized both and celebrates their festival
on October 7 , in high season of the grape harvest.
name of Serge remained quite alive, the name of
Bacchus was forgotten , probably because of its homonymy with the
pagan god, considered to be awkward. However, many traces of its memory resisted
time, in the East, for example in Cairo : (Church Saint Bacchus), in Maaloulo
- Syria : (church Saint Serge and Saint Bacchus), in Istanbul : (church Saint
Bacchus transformed into a mosque), just as in the Occident, as the frescos in
the vault of Berze the City (close to Mâcon) show it. We can
note that Saint Bacchus is represented on a dark horse contrary to Saint Serge
represented on a clear one.
this Saint whose martyrdom inspired a medieval poet, Geoffroy of Isle de
France, who compared his torment with that inflicted to a bunch of grape, to
give us the wine which was chosen by our founder as the patron saint of our
Order, involved in the crusade for the defense of the “wine vray”.