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Saint Maximilian of Tebessa, also known as Maximilian of Numidia,[1] (Latin: Maximilianus; AD 274–295) was a Christian saint and martyr, whose feast day is observed on 12 March. Born in AD 274, the son of Fabius Victor, soldier of the Roman army, Maximilian was obliged to enlist at the age of 21. On 12 March 295 at Theveste (now Tébessa, Algeria),[2] he was brought before the proconsul of Africa Proconsularis, Cassius Dio, to swear allegiance to the Emperor as a soldier. He refused, stating that, as a Christian, he could not serve in the military,[3] leading to his immediate beheading by sword. He is noted as the earliest recorded conscientious objector, although it is believed that other Christians at the time also refused military service and were executed.[4]

Saint Maximilian of Tebessa
Died12 March 295
Thavaste (Tébessa), Numidia (present day Algeria)
Feast12 March
PatronageConscientious objectors



Maximilianus, born about AD 274, was a native of Theveste (today Tebessa) in eastern Numidia (corresponding to the eastern part of modern Algeria) already annexed by Rome for four centuries. His father, a Christian named Fabius Victor was a former soldier enlisted in the Roman army.


The Order of Maximilian, a group of American clergypeople opposed to the Vietnam War in the 1970s, took their name from him.[5] Maximilian's name has been regularly read out, as a representative conscientious objector from the Roman Empire, at the annual ceremony marking International Conscientious Objectors' Day, 15 May,[6] at the Conscientious Objectors Commemorative Stone, Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, London.


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ott, Michael. "Maximilian." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 10. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1911. 15 Mar. 2013
  3. ^ Butler, Rev. Alban, "Saint Maximilian", Lives of the Saints, Vol. III, 1866
  4. ^ Richard Alston, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt, London and New York: Routledge, 1995, ISBN 0-415-12270-8, p 149.
  5. ^ Marvin E. Gettleman (1985). Vietnam and America: A Documented History. Grove Press. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-394-62277-4. Retrieved 19 May 2013.
  6. ^

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