The origins of this 1500 year prayer vigil are fascinating: In the third Century AD Caesar Maximian sent a Roman commander of the Theban (North African) legion to quell an uprising in the Alps, but on arriving Maurice discovered that these rebels were all Coptic Christians like himself – his brothers in Christ. As a result, Maurice and his legion famously refused to attack fellow believers, telling Caesar: ‘Emperor, we are your soldiers but we are above all servants of God . . . You order us to put Christians to death. Search no further, here we are!’
Systematically all 7,000 members of the Theban legion were executed by their own emperor for refusing to break their highest vow of allegiance which was to Christ the King. On the site of this atrocity a later king, Sigismund, established the monastery in AD 515 as a place of 24–7 prayer in memory of the martyred Theban legion.
Our 24-7 Prayer week in Autumn 2017 starts on 1st October. Sign up for an hour slot in our prayer room here.