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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Nov. 9 (new style Nov. 22): St. Theodore the Recruit

Today on the calendar of the Sarum use of the Roman rite we celebrate the feast of the holy martyr Theodore the Recruit. Presented below are the readings at Matins for the feast, translated into English by Hieromonk Aidan (Keller) in anticipation of their publication by St. John Cassian Press, together with all the Matins readings throughout the year for the Roman rite in the Russian Orthodox Church.



Lesson 1. In the times of the emperor Maximian, Theodore was arrested in the city of Abasia, and with him many other recruits into the army, and they were all pressured to sacrifice to the idols. But the blessed man Theodore, because he was faithful and full of the Holy Spirit, standing in the midst of the legion, said that, “I am a Christian, and I have not received a command to do sacrifice to evil graven images. For I have, for my king, Christ in heaven.” And having been led to the ruler Populius, the ruler said to him: “Theodore, sacrifice to the gods, and save thyself from these tortures which have been prepared for thee.” Theodore the blessed one said: “I do not consent to thee, and I am not afraid of thy punishments. For the expectation of good things induceth me to have confidence because of the hope which is laid up for me, and the crown which my Lord Jesus Christ hath prepared for me.” Full of indignation, therefore, the judge commanded him to be cast in prison, and be left there to die of starvation. But the blessed man Theodore was fed by the Holy Spirit. But Thou...

Lesson 2. When the ruler was sitting at tribunal again, and the blessed man Theodore had been brought in, he said to him: “Yield to me, Theodore, without torments, and do sacrifice to the gods, that I may write to the rulers of the whole round world that Theodore became a high priest. And receive from them no mean promotion, and thou wilt be a spokesman for us.” Blessed Theodore, looking up to heaven and signing himself, said to the ruler: “Even if thou wilt burn my flesh with fire, and use diverse tortures, as long as there is breath in my nostrils, I will not deny my God!” Hearing this, the ruler told the interrogators to hang him from a beam of wood and tear his sides with iron hooks. They tore him so much that even his ribs were stripped bare. But the blessed man Theodore chanted, saying: “I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” Then the judge, after much ill-treatment, said to the holy martyr: “What dost thou desire, to be with us or with thy Christ?” With great joy the holy martyr answered him: “With my Christ I have been, and am, and will be.” But Thou...

Lesson 3. The ruler, seeing that the forbearance of the holy martyr could not be overcome by torments, rendered judgment against him, saying: “Theodore, a man who doth not obey the commands of the all-invincible princes, but believeth in Jesus Christ Who was crucified, I order to be delivered into fire.” And as soon as he had pronounced the sentence, it was carried out by word and command. And when the fire had been kindled, the blessed martyr prayed, sealing himself with the sign of the Cross. And with his hands bound behind his back, gazing up to heaven, he was accepted as a whole-burnt offering to God, like a ram chosen out of a great flock. And when he finished his prayer, the Devil’s henchmen lit the fire. But we to whom it was granted to witness it saw a great miracle in the glowing flame. For the flame became like the appearance of an arched vault, like a ship’s sail filled with the wind, and it surrounded the blessed martyr’s body like a wall, and his was not like a burning body, but like bread baked. For as the Holy Spirit came upon him the blessed martyr was in the midst of the flame without difficulty. And as he was praising and glorifying God, he gave up to Christ his spirit. And all were filled with a most sweet fragrance. And there came to him a voice from the skies, saying: “Come, Theodore, my dearly beloved, enter into the joy of thy Lord, for with fidelity hast thou finished thy battle-course.” And a certain woman named Eusebia diligently buried his body, and in that same place many miracles happen to the praise and glory of God’s name. But Thou...

(c) 2008 St. John Cassian Press

Today we also remember the repose of Schema-archbishop Theodore of Pskov Caves and West Milford.

2 comments:

stjohnskellion said...

An Obit tribute of the Elder Theodore was posted at Oblation:

http://orthodoxoblates.wordpress.com/2008/11/21/the-noetic-pilgrim-and-kenotic-soul/

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