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The Saint Who Endured Torments and Prayed for His Executioners

Alexander of Rome, Shatterer of False Gods, Enlightener of the Souls

Saint Alexander of Rome

On 26 May, we remember Saint Alexander, an eighteen-year-old fourth-century Roman soldier who forsook a bright military career and gave up his life as a martyr for refusing to worship Pagan idols. The church hymns written in his honour extol him for his spiritual strength, which rendered devils helpless, and for his brilliant faith, which illuminated the lives of those around him and led them to Christ.

During the reign of Emperor Maximian, he served in the regiment led by the Roman Tribune Tiberian. The Emperor ordered that all his subjects worship the Pagan gods in Jupiter's temple on a specific date each year. When the day came, his commander mustered his unit to march to the temple, but the saint declined to accompany them. He called himself a Christian and refused to worship demons. His commander denounced him to the Emperor, who dispatched a party of soldiers to capture him without delay.

His arrest party was the first to see the mystical power of the Christian faith. Alexander had been told of his arrest by the angels, and he met his arrest team at the door. According to legend, when the troops saw him, his face glowed with a heavenly brightness so dazzling that they fell to the ground. Alexander might have utilised his newly discovered ability to flee, but like Christ, he willingly accepted his martyrdom. He helped the soldiers back on their feet and reminded them to follow their orders.

Brought before the Emperor, Alexander again declared himself a believer of Christ and refused to offer sacrifice to Pagan gods. The Emperor tried to use threats, but unsuccessfully. Then he promised Alexander a prosperous life and a brilliant career, only to hear him denounce Paganism. When the emperor put him to torture, he remained steadfast.

Frustrated, the Emperor handed him over to Tiberian, who took him to Carthage. By that time, his mother, informed by an angel of her son's imprisonment, found him in chains. Again, Tiberian offered him to bow to the idols in exchange for amnesty. He tormented the saint in front of his mother when he refused. His courageous mother, on the other hand, urged him to keep strong for the sake of Jesus.

The other troops who witnessed his ordeal appreciated his fortitude and forbearance. The Lord was giving him strength, causing spectators to acknowledge the power of the Christian God.

As he was led to his execution site, he prayed for the troops who accompanied him, begging Christ to bring them water and food. When they got to their destination and Alexander saw his mother for the final time, he calmed her and asked her not to cry since he was going to the Lord. The soldier tasked with severing the saint's head asked him for forgiveness, but he could not lift the sword since the angels were watching. Alexander begged the angels to turn aside so that the executioner could carry out his duties.

With his life, he demonstrated the immense power of the Christian faith to everyone who lived, but he avoided the temptation to use it to prevent his jailers and executioners from carrying out their commands. Instead, he treated them with kindness and prayed for them, demonstrating that Christ's power was not of this world. He continued to aid people even after he died, as many who visited his cemetery experienced healing. The Christian faithful continue to pray in his name for healing, the health of their families, and the strengthening of their faith.

June 05, 2023
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