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 is a Christian saint and martyr, whose feast day is observed on 12 March. Born in the third century, A.D. 274, the son of Fabius Victor, a soldier in the Roman army, Maximilian was obliged to enlist at the age of 21. On 12 March, A.D. 295, at the City of Thavaste (now: Tébessa, Algeria), North Africa.[1] he was brought before the proconsul of Numidia, Cassius Dion, 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 the sword. He is noted as the earliest recorded conscientious objector, although it is believed that there were some other Christians at that time who also refused military service and were executed.[3]

The 1970s anti-Vietnam War clergy group Order of Maximilian took their name from him.[4] 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, at the Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London.


  1. ^ Ott, Michael. "Maximilian." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 15 Mar. 2013
  2. ^ Butler, Rev. Alban, "Saint Maximilian", Lives of the Saints, Vol. III, 1866
  3. ^ Richard Alston, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt, London and New York: Routledge, 1995, ISBN 0-415-12270-8, p 149.
  4. ^ Marvin E. Gettleman (1985). Vietnam and America: A Documented History. Grove Press. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-394-62277-4. Retrieved 19 May 2013. 

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