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Saint Philopateer Mercurius the Martyr Abu Saifain

St. Mercurius, known as the saint with the two swords (Abu-Saifain), was born to Christian parents in the city of Rome. They called him Philopateer (which means "Lover of the Father") and reared him in a Christian manner. When he grew, he enlisted in the army during the days of Emperor Decius, the pagan.

The Lord gave Philopateer the strength and the courage, for which he earned the satisfaction of his superiors. They called him Mercurius and he grew very close to the Emperor.   When the Berbers rose up against Rome, Decius went out to fight them, but when he saw how many they were, he became terrified. St. Mercurius assured him saying, "Do not be afraid, because God will destroy our enemies and will bring us victory."   

When he left the Emperor, an angel appeared to him in the shape of a man, dressed in white apparel. The angel gave him a sword saying, "When you overcome your enemies, remember the Lord your God." (That is why he is called, "of the two swords" or "Abu-Saifain" -  one is the military sword and the other is the sword of the divine power).

When Emperor Decius conquered his enemies and Mercurius came back victorious, the angel appeared to him and reminded him of what he told him previously, that is, to remember the Lord his God.  Decius, and his soldiers with him, wanted to offer up incense to his idols. St. Mercurius tarried behind.  When they informed the Emperor of what had happened, he called St. Mercurius and expressed his amazement at his abandonment of loyalty to him.  The Emperor reprimanded him for refusing to come and offer incense to the idols.  The Saint cast his girdle and his military attire down before the Emperor and said to him, "I do not worship anyone except my Lord and my God Jesus Christ!"

The Emperor became angry and ordered him to be beaten with whips and stalks. When the Emperor saw how the people of the city and the soldiers were attached to St. Mercurius, the Emperor feared that they might revolt. So instead, he bound him in iron fetters and sent him to Caesarea, where they cut off his head. He thus completed his holy fight and received the crown of life in the Kingdom of Heaven.

May his prayers be with us, and glory be to God forever. Amen