The Holy and Great Martyr
Theodore the Tyro
March 2 (February 17, Old Calendar)
In the town of Amasia in the district of Pontus, during the persecutions of the Emperor Maximian (286-305), Christians were compelled to reject Christ and bring sacrifice to the idols. Among them was the warrior Theodore, whose nickname, Tyro, means "neophyte," or "novice" in Latin. Theodore refused to do as he was bidden, and was cruelly tortured and then incarcerated. There, during his prayers, he was solaced by the wonderful apparition of the Lord Jesus Christ. Some time later he was taken from jail and tortured again, so that he would be forced to reject Christ. Finally, seeing that he would not submit, the administrator of the district condemned him to be burned at the stake. Without trepidation, St. Theodore mounted the pyre and gave up his soul to the Lord with prayer and praise. His body was buried in the town of Euchait (presently Marsivan, in Asia Minor, now Turkey). Later his relics were transferred to Constantinople into the Church bearing his name; his head rests in Gaeta, Italy.
Some 50 years after the death of St. Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363) tried to carry out a plan to sully the Christian Great Lent. He ordered the Constantinople diocese, the city commander, to sprinkle all food sold in the markets with blood from sacrifices to idols during the first week of Lent. St. Theodore appeared to Eudoxus, the Archbishop of Constantinople, in a vision at night. He and ordered Eudoxus to declare to the Christians that they should not buy the fouled provisions in the marketplace, but use kutia [cooked wheat with honey] as food. In memory of this event the Orthodox Church to this day commemorates the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent. On the eve of Friday, after the post chancel prayer, a Te Deum to St. Theodore is served, which is followed by a blessing of the kutia.
Troparion, Tone 2:
Great are the achievements of faith!/ In the fountain of flame as in refreshing water,/ the holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced./ He was made a whole burnt offering in the fire/ and was offered as bread to the Trinity./ By his prayers, O Christ our God, save our souls.
Kontakion, Tone 8:
Thou didst receive the Faith of Christ in thy heart as a breastplate/ and trample upon the enemy hosts, O great Champion./ Thou hast been crowned with a heavenly, eternal crown, for thou art invincible.
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