Maximilian (martyr)

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Saint Maximilian of Tebessa
Born 274
Died 12 March 295
Thavaste (Tébessa), Numidia (present day Algeria)
Feast 12 March
Patronage conscientious objectors

Saint Maximilian of Tebessa (Latin: Maximilianus) is a Berber Christian saint and martyr, whose feast day is observed on 12 March. Born in 274, the son of Fabius Victor, soldier of the Roman army, Maximilian was obliged to enlist at the age of 21. On 12 March 295 at Theveste (now Tébessa, Algeria),[1] he was brought before the proconsul of Africa Proconsularis, Cassius Dio, to swear allegiance to the Emperor as a soldier. He refused, stating that, as a Christian, he could not serve in the military,[2] leading to his immediate beheading by sword. He is noted as the earliest recorded conscientious objector, although it is believed that other Christians at the time also refused military service and were executed.[3]


Maximilianus, born about 274, was a native of Theveste (today Tebessa) in eastern Numidia[4] (corresponding to the eastern part of modern Algeria) already annexed by Rome for four centuries. His father, a Christian named Fabius Victor was a former soldier enlisted in the Roman army.


The 1970s anti-Vietnam War clergy group Order of Maximilian took their name from him.[5] Maximilian's name has been regularly read out, as a representative conscientious objector from the Roman Empire, at the annual ceremony marking International Conscientious Objectors' Day, 15 May,[6] at the Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London.


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