The Apostolic Order of St Hadrian Of Canterbury, a visit to the Abbey of St Maurice
Bishop Doyé T. Agama was a special guest of Bishop Joseph Roduit the Abbot of the ancient Monastic Abbey of Saint Maurice of Aguane, in Switzerland
CELEBRATING THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF AFRICAN CHRISTIANS TO THE WESTERN CHURCH
REPORT ON THE FIRST VISIT BY THE ABBOT OF THE APOSTOLIC ORDER OF ST HADRIAN OF CANTERBURY, TO THE ABBEY OF ST MAURICE AGUANE, SWITZERLAND: 8TH -9TH SEPT, 2011
Saint Maurice Overview
Saint Maurice (also known as Moritz, Morris, or Mauritius) was a senior officer in the Roman Army. He and his “Theban Legion” were from Southern Egypt. He was the patron saint of several professions, locales, and kingdoms in Europe until The Slave Trade degraded the previously noble view of Africans that was once so widespread among Europeans. Saint Maurice however remains one of the most widely venerated saints of his time among European Christians, the Royal Houses of Europe and in the Coptic Orthodox Church.
It has been claimed (by some) that the “Moors Head” on the personal coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI is actually that of St Maurice, who was thought by some to have been a Moor.
There is a statue of Saint Maurice in the Cathedral of Magdeburg, Germany, next to the grave of Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor. The cathedral is actually named “The Cathedral of Saints Catherine and Maurice” after Saint Maurice and Saint Catherine of Alexandria (who was also an Egyptian).
Maurice and his soldiers who were all African Christians had been recruited by the Emperor Maximian and were being deployed to Gaul to help put down a local revolt. However Maurice and his men refused to kill fellow Christians or to worship Roman gods, including the emperor. For this they were martyred in around 287AD in the mountain pass of the Aguane (Aguanum). The Order of St Hadrian of Canterbury holds that beyond historical embellishments and legends lies the real story of Saint Maurice of Thebes. Today the place once known as Aguanum in Switzerland is now Saint Maurice-en-Valais, site of the Abbey of Saint Maurice-en-Valais.
The Abbey of St. Maurice is now probably the oldest continuously inhabited abbey in the Christian West. The African soldiers lay buried on the battlefield for nearly one hundred years, with the grave of Saint Maurice marked by a huge stone. Today a small chapel stands on that spot on the battlefield, and Bishop Doyé Agama and his host were able to visit and spend some time there in reflection.