St Maurice & the Theban Legion El Greco
The Abbey of St Maurice in Valais, Switzerland, where the bones of St Maurice and the Theban Legion are preserved, has made a gesture of solidarity with the Christians of Egypt. The Abbot of the canons Regular of St Augustine, Mgr Joseph Roduit, has given some relics to a priest from Egypt. This is a gesture of solidarity towards these Christians, declared the Abbot in an interview on 'SonntagsZeitung' on 2 September 2012.
Relics cannot perform miracles but they can reinforce faith, Mgr Roduit asserted. "Relics have very great significance in Muslim countries. People believe in them more than in a text." The priest will place the relics in a church in Luxor.
According to tradition, it was from Luxor that the Theban Legion came. These Roman soldiers who were executed around the year 300 in their camp at Augane, now known as St Maurice, died as witnesses for their faith. About 380 St Theodore, also known as St Theodule, Bishop of Octodure (today's Martigny, Switzerland) deposited the relics of the Martyrs in a shrine at the foot of the cliff. On 22nd September 515, the feast of St Maurice and the Theban Legion, St Sigismund, King of Burgundy, founded the monastery and inaugurated the 'laus Perennis' – the perpetual praise – at the tomb of the martyrs.
Twelve years ago a new tradition grew up at St Maurice. On the weekend closest to the feats of the Uganda Martyrs, at the beginning of June, Africans living in Switzerland and elsewhere in Europe gather to honour the saints of their continent, from North to South.
Many thanks to Maurice Billingsley for translating this article.