Confesseur (✝ 613)
Il vit le jour à la suite de l'union d'un courrier impérial avec une prostituée du village de Sykéon en Galatie. La présence de son enfant la transforma et elle mena une vie plus honorable. Lorsqu'il eut six ans, elle projeta de le faire entrer au service de l'empereur Justinien, mais, après avoir prié saint Georges le Grand martyr, elle le garda près de lui. A quinze ans, saint Théodore voulut vivre reclus proche de la chapelle de saint Georges. Il fit un pèlerinage à Jérusalem, reçut l'habit monastique au monastère de Choziba et revint au pays. Il commença alors une vie d'extrêmes austérités. Par exemple, durant le Grand Carême, il se faisait enfermer dans une étroite cage de fer, chargé d'une cuirasse et une lourde croix au cou. Il se fixa les mains et les pieds avec des anneaux qu'il garda jusqu'à sa mort. Les foules venaient au monastère et il fit construire une vaste église pour les recevoir. Nommé de force évêque d'Ancyre (actuelle Ankara), il voulut quitter cette charge, s'en jugeant indigne. Invité à Constantinople par deux fois auprès du patriarche, il mourut confiant dans le Seigneur après les offices du dimanche du Renouveau. On ne put lui enlever les fers et on les lui laissa quand il fut revêtu de ses habits épiscopaux pour être conduit à sa dernière demeure terrestre. Il fut l'un des grands propagateurs du culte de saint Georges dont il avait reçu les bienfaits durant toute sa vie monastique.
Saint Théodore le Sykeote est né dans le milieu du VIe siècle dans le village de Sykeon, non loin de la ville d'Anastasiopolis (En Galatie, en Asie Mineure), dans une famille pieuse. Lorsque sa mère Maria a conçu le saint, elle a eu une vision d'une étoile brillante éclipsant son sein. Un aîné clairvoyant, qu'elle a consulté, a expliqué que c'était la grâce de Dieu est répandu sur l'enfant dans son ventre.
Lorsque le garçon atteint l'âge de six ans, sa mère lui a présenté une ceinture d'or, car elle avait l'intention que son fils devrait devenir un soldat. Cette nuit-là le Saint Grand Martyr George (23 Avril) lui apparut en songe, et il lui a dit de ne pas considérer le service militaire de son fils, parce que le garçon était destiné à servir Dieu. Le père du saint, Cosmas, avait servi de messager de l'empereur Justinien le Grand (527-565), et il est mort à un âge précoce. Le garçon est resté sous la garde de sa mère, et sa grand-mère Elpis, sa tante Dispenia et sa petite sœur Vlatta aussi vécu avec eux.
À l'école, saint Théodore preuve d'une grande AppTitude dans ses études, dont le principal était une capacité rare de raisonnement et de sagesse. Il était calme, doux, il a toujours su calmer ses camarades, et il ne permettait pas aux combats ou des querelles entre eux.
Le pieux ancien Etienne a également vécu dans la maison de sa mère. En l'imitant, Saint-Théodore à l'âge de huit a commencé à manger seulement un petit morceau de pain dans la soirée, durant le Grand Carême. Alors que sa mère ne doit pas le forcer à prendre le souper avec tout le monde, le garçon revint de l'école que vers le soir, après avoir mangé des saints mystères avec frère Stephen. A la demande de sa mère, l'enseignant a commencé à le renvoyer chez lui pour souper à la fin de ses leçons. St Théodore, cependant, courut à l'église du grand martyr Georges, où le saint lui apparut sous la forme d'un jeune homme, et le fit entrer dans l'église.
Lorsque saint Théodore eu dix ans, il est tombé gravement malade. Ils l'ont amené à l'église de Saint-Jean-Baptiste et l'ont placé en face de l'autel. Le garçon a été guéri par deux gouttes d'eau qui tombaient de la face du Sauveur dans le dôme du temple. A cette époque, le grand martyr George a commencé à apparaître à l'enfant pendant la nuit, et lui a également conduit à son propre temple pour prier jusqu'au matin. Sa mère, craignant les dangers de la forêt dans la nuit, a exhorté son fils de ne pas sortir le soir.
Une fois, quand le garçon était déjà parti, elle en colère l'a suivi à l'église, et elle l'a traîné par les cheveux et l'a attaché à son lit. Mais cette nuit-là le grand martyr George lui apparut en songe, et lui ordonna de ne pas entraver l'enfant d'aller à l'église. Les deux Elpis et Dispenia avaient la même vision. Les femmes ont alors compris vocation particulière de saint Théodore, et ils l'empêchèrent pas de plus. Même sa petite sœur Vlatta a commencé à l'imiter.
A douze ans, le saint avait un rêve dans lequel il voyait le Christ sur le trône de gloire, qui lui dit: "Lutte, Théodore, de sorte que vous pouvez obtenir une récompense parfaite dans le Royaume des Cieux."
A partir de ce moment, saint Théodore a commencé à intensifier ses travaux. Il a passé la Première Semaine du Grand Carême et la Semaine de la vénération de la Croix dans un silence complet.
Le diable a examiné comment le faire périr. Il est apparu au saint dans la forme de sa camarade de classe Géronte, et lui a demandé de sauter un précipice, mais le grand martyr George sauvé le garçon.
Une autre fois, le garçon est allé dans le désert pour obtenir la bénédiction de la Glycerius Elder. Puis il ya eu une terrible sécheresse dans tout le pays, et l'aîné dit: «Mon enfant, prions le Seigneur à genoux, lui demandant d'envoyer la pluie. Ensuite, nous apprenons que nos prières sont agréables au Seigneur. "Le vieil homme et le garçon a commencé à prier, et immédiatement il a commencé à pleuvoir. Puis l'Ancien dit saint Théodore, que la grâce de Dieu était sur lui, et il le bénit pour devenir moine, le moment venu.
Quand il avait quatorze ans, saint Théodore a quitté la maison et a vécu près de l'église du grand martyr Georges. Sa mère lui apportait de la nourriture, mais saint Théodore a tout laissé sur les pierres de l'église, et il en mangea une seule prosphore chaque jour. Même à un si jeune âge, saint Théodore a reçu le don de guérison. Grâce à ses prières un jeune démoniaque a été restauré à la santé.
St Théodore alors fui la gloire humaine et il se retira dans une solitude complète. Sous un gros rocher non loin de l'église de Saint-Georges, il a creusé une grotte et a convaincu un certain diacre pour recouvrir l'entrée avec de la terre, ne laissant qu'une petite ouverture pour l'air. Le diacre lui apportaient du pain et de l'eau et il a parlé à personne, où le moine s'était caché.
Pendant deux ans, saint Théodore a vécu dans cette solitude et le calme complet. Ses parents ont pleuré pour le saint, pensant qu'il avait été dévoré par les bêtes sauvages.
Le diacre a finalement révélé le secret, car il avait peur que saint Théodore périrait dans la grotte étroite, et en outre, il plaignait la mère éplorée. Ils ont pris St Théodore de la grotte à peine vivant.
La mère a voulu prendre son fils à la maison et le soigner à la santé, mais le saint est resté près de l'église de Saint-Georges, et après quelques jours, il était tout à fait bien.
Nouvelles des exploits de la jeunesse atteint l'évêque Théodose locale, qui a ordonné au diaconat, et plus tard à la sainte prêtrise, bien que le saint était âgé de seulement dix-sept ans à l'époque.
Après un certain tandis que saint Théodore a pour vénérer les lieux saints de Jérusalem, et il y en Cozéba Lavra près de Jordanie, il a reçu la tonsure monastique.
Quand il est retourné dans son pays natal, il a de nouveau continué à vivre près de l'église St George. Sa grand-mère Elpis, sa sœur et sa mère Vlatta entrés dans un monastère de femmes sur les conseils du saint, et sa tante sont morts dans une bonne confession.
La vie ascétique de la jeune hiéromoine attiré à lui les gens qui cherchent le salut. Le saint tonsuré les jeunes Epiphane, et plus tard sur une femme pieuse, guéri par le saint de sa maladie, lui a amené son fils Philoumenus. Alors le jeune vertueux John est également venu à lui. Ainsi frères progressivement réunis autour du moine.
St Théodore a continué dans ses travaux difficiles. A sa demande, un forgeron lui fait une cage de fer sans toit, et si étroit qu'il n'était guère possible de se tenir debout. Dans cette cage, le moine se tenait dans les chaînes lourdes de la Sainte Pâque jusqu'à la Nativité du Christ. De Baptême du Seigneur, jusqu'à ce Saint Pascha il s'enfermait dans sa caverne, dont il est sorti seulement pour les services religieux les samedis et dimanches. Tout au long des quarante jours de jeûne du saint ne mangeait que du pain et des légumes verts, les samedis et dimanches.
Vivre de manière, il a reçu du Seigneur le pouvoir sur les animaux sauvages. Les ours et les loups se sont approchés de lui et ont pris la nourriture de sa main. Grâce aux prières du saint, les personnes atteintes de la lèpre ont été guéris, et les démons ont été chassés des quartiers entiers. Dans le village voisin de Magatia, quand les criquets menacent les cultures, les gens se sont tournés vers St Théodore de l'aide. Il les a envoyés à l'église. Après Divine Liturgie, dont il a été, les villageois sont rentrés chez eux et ont appris que pendant le service tous les sauterelles étaient morts.
Lorsque le commandant militaire ile Maurice revenait à Constantinople par le biais de la Galatie après une guerre de Perse, le moine prédit qu'il deviendrait empereur. La prédiction s'est réalisée, et l'empereur ile Maurice (582-602) rempli la demande du saint: il a envoyé du pain au monastère chaque année pour la multitude de personnes qui y nourris.
Le petit temple de St George ne pouvait pas accueillir tous ceux qui voulaient y prier. Ensuite, grâce aux efforts du saint une belle nouvelle église a été construite. Pendant ce temps l'évêque de Anastasiopolis venait à mourir. Les habitants de la ville ont demandé Metropolitan Paul d'Ancyre installer St Théodore comme leur évêque.
Alors que le saint ne résisterait pas, les messagers de la région métropolitaine et les gens de Anastasiopolis le traînèrent hors de sa cellule par la force et l'ont transporté dans la ville.
Comme évêque, saint Théodore travaillait beaucoup pour le bien de l'Eglise, mais son âme aspirait à la communion solitaire avec Dieu. Après plusieurs années, il est allé à vénérer les lieux saints de Jérusalem. Et là, cachant son identité, il s'installe à la laure de Saint Sava, où il a vécu dans la solitude de la Nativité du Christ jusqu'à Pâques. Puis le grand martyr George l'a amené à revenir à Anastasiopolis.
Des ennemis secrets essayé d'empoisonner le saint, mais la Mère de Dieu lui a donné trois petits morceaux de céréales. Le saint les mangea et est restée indemne. St Théodore se sentait accablé par le fardeau d'être un évêque et il a demandé le Patriarche de Constantinople Cyriaque (595-606) pour une sortie de retourner à son monastère et de célébrer les services là-bas.
La sainteté de Théodore était si évident que quand il a célébré l'Eucharistie, la grâce de l'Esprit Saint est apparu comme une lumière violette radieuse, éclipsé les saints dons. Une fois, quand le saint a élevé le disque avec le saint Agneau et proclamé "Les choses saintes sont pour la sainte," le saint Agneau flottait dans l'air, puis s'installe à nouveau sur le disque.
L'Eglise orthodoxe vénéré saint Théodore comme un saint, même alors qu'il était encore en vie.
Dans l'une des villes de la Galatie, un événement terrible s'est produit: lors d'une procession de l'église des croix de bois étant réalisées ont commencé à frapper les uns les autres par eux-mêmes, avec le résultat que le patriarche Thomas (607-610 21 Mars) convoqué St Théodore, lui demandant la signification de ce terrible présage. Ayant le don de clairvoyance, St Théodore a expliqué que cette indiqué à venir malheurs pour l'Église de Dieu (il a été prophétiquement indiquant l'hérésie avenir des iconoclastes). Dans sa douleur le saint Patriarche Thomas pria le saint se vouer qu'il allait bientôt mourir, de sorte qu'il ne serait pas assister à la malheur à venir.
En l'an 610 le saint Patriarche Thomas reposait, après avoir demandé la bénédiction de saint Théodore. St Théodore partit aussi au Seigneur.
SOURCE : http://cosaque.over-blog.net/article-fete-le-22-avril-saint-theodore-le-sykeote-l-eparque-d-anastasiopolis-124396491.html
St. Theodorus of Siceon, Bishop and Confessor
HE was a native of Siceon in Galatia, and from his infancy so much given to prayer, that, when at school, he often deprived himself of his dinner, to spend the time allowed for it in the church. All his leisure hours he consecrated to the exercises of prayer and pious reading. He very early shut himself up in a cell in the house of his mother, afterwards in a cave under a retired chapel; and flying at length from thence, to avoid applause, lived on a desert mountain. He was ordained priest by the bishop of Anastasiopolis, and near an ancient chapel built in honour of St. George, to which holy martyr he was exceedingly devoted; he founded a great monastery. In a second pilgrimage to Jerusalem, like another Elias, he, by his prayers, obtained rain from heaven in a great drought in Palestine. He formed many eminent disciples, and built a large monastery at Siceon, which town was situated in the diocess of Anastasiopolis; but still made his chief abode in a little remote cell. Count Mauritius, general of the armies of the Emperor Tiberius, when he returned triumphant from Persia, paid a visit to this saint, who foretold him the empire, by a revelation which he had received through the merits of St. George the martyr. Mauritius being advanced to the imperial throne, in 582, sent to recommend himself and his empire to the prayers of this humble servant of God. Theodorus was, by main force, consecrated bishop of Anastasiopolis, and having held that see ten years, he obtained an order from Cyriacus, patriarch of Constantinople, and the Emperor Mauritius, to the archbishop of Ancyra, his metropolitan, to accept his resignation, which he had till then refused. Theodorus returned with joy to Siceon, but was called to Constantinople to give his blessing to the emperor and senate. He healed one of the emperor’s sons, afflicted with a leprosy. And being returned to his solitude at Siceon, he died there, in 613, on the 22nd of April, on which day his name occurs in the Roman Martyrology. See his life compiled by his disciple, George Eleusius, with the notes of Henschenius, t. 3, Apr. p. 32.
Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73). Volume IV: April. The Lives of the Saints. 1866
Theodore of Sykeon (Sikion) B (RM)
(also known as Theodore of Sikion)
Born in Sykeon, Galatia, Asia Minor; died April 22, 613. The beginning of Theodore's life was infortuitous: He was the bastard child of a girl named Mary who, with her sister, kept an inn at the village of Sykeon. They prostituted themselves to their customers. His father was a circus artist, who specialized in acrobatic camel- riding and had nothing to do with his son. Perhaps his mother was a nominal Christian--she had her son baptized.
When Theodore was only six, Mary wanted him to enter the service of the emperor. She prepared for him a gold belt and expensive clothing to make him presentable at court. Then Saint George appeared to her in a dream and she abandoned this plan. Instead she arranged for Theodore's education with a local teacher.
About this time, the inn was transformed by the arrival of an elderly man, named Stephen, whose cooking transformed the inn into a place renowned for its cuisine. Thus, the women were able to forego prostitution as an additional source of income. Even as a child, Theodore showed a propensity for holiness, which was encouraged by Stephen and heightened following his recovery from a near fatal attack of the bubonic plague. Theodore would skip dinner, depriving himself of nourishment, in order to spend the time in church praying at the shrine of Saint George. He would shut himself up in the cellar or in a cave under a disused chapel at Arkea, about eight miles from home. Later his mother married a prominent businessman of Ankara and left him with his grandmother and aunt, whom as a young man he converted to better ways.
Theodore himself became a monk when on a visit to Jerusalem. Reputedly at the age of 18, he was ordained to the priesthood by his own bishop. Theodore exercised considerable influence, perhaps because of the gifts of prophecy and miracles bestowed on him by God. It is said that he grew suspicious of a finely wrought chalice that turned out to have been made from a prostitute's chamber pot. As a priest-monk he led an austere life: He lived on vegetables, fasted frequently, and wore an iron girdle. When he settled in Mossyna, he helped in the treatment of girls believed to be troubled by unclean spirits.
Strangely, it is recorded that he requested that he be placed in a wooden cage from Christmas to Palm Sunday. Later, he moved into an iron cage suspended on the face of the rock in mid-air above his cave. As a penance he wore an iron breastplate (perhaps in remembrance of his favorite Saint George?) and iron rings for his hands and feet and an iron collar and belt. As is recorded of many Irish saints and desert Fathers, Saint Theodore is said to have been familiar with wild animals--even bears and wolves.
He founded monasteries in his own country and governed the one in his native town, although he frequently retired to a remote and secluded cell because his hermitage, transformed by many visitors seeking his counsel and disciples, had become a complex of buildings including a large church, monastery, and guest house.
In spite of his strong objection, about 590, Theodore was elected bishop of Anastasiopolis, not far from Turkey's capital of Ankara, and consecrated by Archbishop Paul of Ankara. His episcopate was marked by a long series of miracles. An African monk, Antiochus, who came to see Theodore on behalf of a town pillaged by barbarians describes the saint: "He had eyebrows that met each other . . . was about a hundred years old, the hair of his head was as white as wool and hung down to his loins; so too did his beard, and his nails were very long. It was about sixty years since he had touched wine or oil, thirty since he had tasted bread. His food was uncooked vegetables with salt and vinegar; his drink water." Theodore helped Antiochus with his mission and consulted him about the possibility of resigning his episcopate.
Theodore wanted to resign because competing demands on his time-- governing his abbey and diocese--left too little time for prayer. Often his prayers were interrupted to settle disputes or deal with administrative details. The final straw was civil unrest in the villages that belonged to the Church and were entrusted to laymen who oppressed the villagers. Theodore was accused by one of them, Theodosius, with instigating the peasants to revolt. Theodosius finally kicked away the chair on which the bishop was sitting and knocked him on his back.
After 10 years Theodore resigned this office and retired to Saint Michael at Acrena (Akreina) near Pidrum (Tchardak) and Heliopolis. He visited his patron Emperor Maurice at Constantinople and healing one of the princes of a skin disease (leprosy or elephantiasis?). The emperor and empress invited him to their table. There it was decided that all the monasteries should have the power of sanctuary and that the appointment of abbots should be in the jurisdiction of the patriarch rather than the local bishops. Returning to his oratory, he lived as a monk again and continued to work miracles until his death at Sykeon. He was also a great promoter of the cultus of Saint George.
A long vita of Saint Theodore was written by one of his disciples; it is mostly a record of healings of the sick and the possessed and other marvels attributed to this holy man, and of anecdotes illustrating the virtues of his character. He seems to have become a physician and had the gift of reconciling married couples which led to barren wives having children. It does, however, provide a lively picture of life in Asia Minor just before the Arab occupation. Theodore's relics were translated to Constantinople (Attwater, Benedictines, Dawes, Farmer, Walsh).
Source : http://www.saintpatrickdc.org/ss/0422.shtml
We don't have a great deal of historical data about the life of this saint, but the little we do know shows a man who apparently listened to the call of God from the very beginning. One might wonder how he could have come to know God considering his beginnings, but as Scripture tells us, "...my ways are not your ways..." (Is 55:8). Theodore learned of God and heard His call and simply said "yes" for the rest of his life.
© 1998 The Monastery of Christ in the Desert
SOURCE : http://www.christdesert.org/cgi-bin/martyrology.dynamic.5.cgi?name=theodore_of_sykeon
St. Theodore of Sykeon
Today we travel to 7th century Asia Minor to meet another unusual and obscure saint. Theodore was born at Sykeon in Asia Minor in the middle of the 6th century. His unmarried mother, Mary, lived the life of a prostitute and innkeeper. His father is listed as Cosmas, a messenger of the royal court. According to his biography, which was written by a contemporary, Theodore was a very prayerful child. At school he would often give up his lunch so as to spend the time in a local church in prayer.
Despite the objections of his mother, he left home at fourteen and lived the life of an ascetic. His holiness and simplicity came to the attention of Bishop Theodosius of Anastasioupolis, who ordained him a lector, then a deacon. At the age of eighteen, Theodore was ordained to the priesthood, which although not common, was not without precedent. He spent the next several years living the life of an ascetic and drew many disciples by his simplicity, humility and austerity. He founded several monasteries to accommodate the many young men drawn to living a life dedicated to God.
He was abbot of the monastery at Sykeon and reports of his holiness and the many wonders, which occurred through his intercession, brought many to conversion of life. Theodore had a great devotion to St. George, who we will meet tomorrow. He reluctantly accepted the position of bishop of Anastasioupolis after the death of Thodosius and remained there for eleven years.
Theodore was never comfortable with the administrative duties and activities of the office of bishop and was finally able to obtain permission to retire to his monastery. He lived the remainder of his life in prayer and solitude except for a brief visit to Constantinople to bless the emperor and the senate. He died on April 22, 613.
© 1998 The Monastery of Christ in the Desert
SOURCE : http://www.christdesert.org/cgi-bin/martyrology.dynamic.5.cgi?name=theodore_of_sykeon
- Theodore of Sikion
- Theodore the Sykeote
- at Sykeon, Galatia
St Theodore the Sykeote the Bishop of Anastasiopolis
Saint Theodore the Sykeote was born in the mid-sixth century in the village of Sykeon, not far from the city of Anastasiopolis (in Galatia, Asia Minor), into a pious family. When his mother Maria conceived the saint, she had a vision of a bright star overshadowing her womb. A clairvoyant Elder, whom she consulted, explained that this was the grace of God being poured forth on the infant in her womb.
When the boy reached the age of six, his mother presented him with a golden belt, since she intended that her son should become a soldier. That night the Holy Great Martyr George (April 23) appeared to her in a dream, and he told her not to consider military service for her son, because the boy was destined to serve God. The saint’s father, Cosmas, had served as a messenger of the emperor Justinian the Great (527-565), and he died at an early age. The boy remained in the care of his mother, and his grandmother Elpis, his aunt Dispenia and his little sister Vlatta also lived with them.
In school, St Theodore displayed great apptitude in his studies, chief of which was an uncommon ability for reasoning and wisdom. He was quiet, mild, he always knew how to calm his comrades, and he did not permit fights or quarrels among them.
The pious Elder Stephen also lived at his mother’s house. Imitating him, St Theodore at the age of eight began to eat only a small morsel of bread in the evening during Great Lent. So that his mother should not force him to take supper with everyone, the boy returned home from school only toward evening, after he had partaken of the Holy Mysteries with Elder Stephen. At the request of his mother, the teacher began to send him home to supper at the end of his lessons. St Theodore, however, ran to the church of the Great Martyr George, where the saint appeared to him in the form of a youth, and ushered him into the church.
When St Theodore turned ten, he fell deathly ill. They brought him to the church of St John the Baptist and placed him in front of the altar. The boy was healed by two drops of water that fell from the face of the Savior in the dome of the temple. At this time the Great Martyr George began appearing to the boy at night, and also leading him to his own temple to pray until morning. His mother, fearing the dangers of the forest at night, urged her son not to go at night.
Once, when the boy had already gone, she angrily followed him to the church, and she dragged him out by the hair and tied him to his bed. But that very night the Great Martyr George appeared to her in a dream, and commanded her not to hinder the child from going to church. Both Elpis and Dispenia had the same vision. The women then understood St Theodore’s special calling, and they no longer hindered him. Even his little sister Vlatta began to imitate him.
At twelve years of age, the saint had a dream in which he saw Christ on the Throne of Glory, Who said to him, “Struggle, Theodore, so that you may obtain a perfect reward in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
From that time, St Theodore began to intensify his labors. He spent both the First Week of Great Lent and the Week of the Veneration of the Cross in complete silence.
The devil considered how to destroy him. He appeared to the saint in the form of his classmate Gerontius, and urged him to jump off a precipice, but the Great Martyr George saved the boy.
Another time, the boy went into the desert to obtain the blessing of the Elder Glycerius. Then there was a terrible drought throughout the land, and the Elder said, “Child, let us pray to the Lord on bended knee, asking Him to send rain. Then we shall learn whether our prayers are pleasing to the Lord.” The old man and the boy began to pray, and immediately it began to rain. Then the Elder said to St Theodore, that the grace of God was upon him, and he blessed him to become a monk when the time came.
When he was fourteen, St Theodore left home and lived near the church of the Great Martyr George. His mother brought him food, but St Theodore left everything on the stones by the church, and he ate only a single prosphora each day. Even at such a young age, St Theodore was granted the gift of healing. Through his prayers a demon-possessed youth was restored to health.
St Theodore then fled human glory and he withdrew into complete solitude. Under a large boulder not far from the church of St George, he dug a cave and persuaded a certain deacon to cover over the entrance with earth, leaving only a small opening for air. The deacon brought him bread and water and he told no one,where the monk had hidden himself.
For two years St Theodore lived in this seclusion and complete quiet. His relatives mourned for the saint, thinking that he had been devoured by wild beasts.
The deacon finally revealed the secret, since he was afraid that St Theodore would perish in the narrow cave, and moreover he pitied the weeping mother. They took St Theodore out of the cave barely alive.
The mother wanted to take her son home and nurse him back to health, but the saint remained near the church of St George, and after several days he was completely well.
News of the youth’s exploits reached the local bishop Theodosius, who ordained him to the diaconate, and later to the holy priesthood, although the saint was only seventeen years old at the time.
After a certain while St Theodore went to venerate the holy places in Jerusalem, and there at the Chozeba Lavra near Jordan, he received monastic tonsure.
When he returned to his native land, he again continued to live near the church of St George. His grandmother Elpis, his sister Vlatta and his mother entered a women’s monastery on the saint’s advice, and his aunt died in a good confession.
The ascetic life of the young hieromonk attracted to him people seeking salvation. The saint tonsured the youth Epiphanius, and later on a pious woman, healed by the saint from her sickness, brought him her son Philoumenus. Then the virtuous youth John also came to him. Thus brethren gradually gathered around the monk.
St Theodore continued in his harsh labors. At his request a blacksmith made him an iron cage without a roof, and so narrow that it was scarcely possible to stand. In this cage the monk stood in heavy chains from Holy Pascha until the Nativity of Christ. From the Baptism of the Lord until Holy Pascha he secluded himself in his cave, from which he emerged only for church services on Saturdays and Sundays. Throughout the whole of the forty-day Fast the saint ate only greens, and bread on Saturdays and Sundays.
Living in such manner, he received from the Lord the power over wild animals. Bears and wolves came up to him and took food from his hand. Through the saint’s prayers, those afflicted with leprosy were healed, and demons were cast out from whole districts. In the nearby village of Magatia, when locusts threatened the crops, people turned to St Theodore for help. He sent them to church. After Divine Liturgy, which he served, the villagers returned home and learned that during the service all the locusts had died.
When the military commander Mauricius was returning to Constantinople by way of Galatia after a Persian war, the monk predicted that he would become emperor. The prediction came true, and the emperor Mauricius (582-602) fulfilled the saint’s request: he sent bread to the monastery each year for the multitude of people being fed there.
The small temple of St George could not accommodate all those who wanted to pray in it. Then through the efforts of the saint a beautiful new church was built. During this while the Bishop of Anastasiopolis happened to die. The people of the city requested Metropolitan Paul of Ancyra to install St Theodore as their bishop.
So that the saint would not resist, the messengers of the Metropolitan and the people of Anastasiopolis dragged him out of his cell by force and carried him into the city.
As bishop, St Theodore toiled much for the welfare of the Church, but his soul yearned for solitary communion with God. After several years he went to venerate the holy places in Jerusalem. And there, concealing his identity, he settled at the Lavra of St Sava, where he lived in solitude from the Nativity of Christ until Pascha. Then the Great Martyr George led him to return to Anastasiopolis.
Secret enemies tried to poison the saint, but the Mother of God gave him three small pieces of grain. The saint ate them and remained unharmed. St Theodore felt weighed down with the burden of being a bishop and he asked Patriarch Cyriacus of Constantinople (595-606) for a release to return to his own monastery and celebrate the services there.
Theodore’s sanctity was so evident that when he celebrated the Eucharist, the grace of the Holy Spirit appeared as a radiant purple light, overshadowed the Holy Gifts. One time, when the saint elevated the discus with the holy Lamb and proclaimed “Holy things are for the holy,” the holy Lamb floated up in the air, and then settled again upon the discus.
The Orthodox Church venerated St Theodore as a saint, even while he was still alive.
In one of the cities of Galatia, a terrible event occurred: during a church procession the wooden crosses being carried began to strike each other by themselves, with the result that Patriarch Thomas (607-610, March 21) summoned St Theodore, asking him the meaning of this terrible portent. Having the gift of foresight, St Theodore explained that this indicated coming misfortunes for the Church of God (he was prophetically indicating the future heresy of the Iconoclasts). In his grief the holy Patriarch Thomas begged the saint to pray that he would soon die, so that he would not witness the coming woe.
In the year 610 the holy Patriarch Thomas reposed, having asked the blessing of St Theodore. St Theodore also departed to the Lord.
SOURCE : http://oca.org/saints/lives/2013/04/22/101178-st-theodore-the-sykeote-the-bishop-of-anastasiopolis
Our Holy Father Theodore the Sykeote
* His birthplace was the village of Sykeon in Galatia, because of which he was named `the Sykeote'. While still a ten-year-old boy, Theodore gave himself to strict fasting and night-long vigils under the eye of an elder, Stephen, who lived in his house. His mother, Maria, was a rich widow and intended her son to devote himself to a soldier's calling. But St George appeared to her in her sleep and told her that Theodore was destined for the service, not of an earthly king, but of the King of heaven. St George also appeared to Theodore many times, either to instruct him or to save him from some danger in which the evil demons had placed him. He also had several visions of the most holy Mother of God. Theodore's asceti-cism exceeded in its severity the asceticism of all the other ascetics of his time. He tormented his body in hunger and thirst and iron girdles and standing all night in prayer. All this-only to link his soul in love to God and to achieve total mastery over his body. The merciful Lord's love responded to Theodore's love. He gave him great power over evil spirits and over all the ills and pains of men. He became known on all sides as a miraculous healer. For his great purity and devotion, he was chosen against his wishes as Bishop of Anastasioupolis. He spent eleven years in episcopal service, and then begged God to release him from this service in order to devote himself again to his beloved asceticism. After that, he returned to his monastery, where, in old age, he gave his soul to the Lord for whose sake he had undergone so much voluntary suffering. He died at the beginning of the reign of the Emperor Herachus, in about 613.
From "The Prologue from Ochrid", by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic - Lazarica Press - Birmingham 1985
Four Book Edition - Translated by Mother Maria - Dates based on old church calendar.
Please see our calendar for conversion between old and new calendar dates.
San Teodoro il Siceota Vescovo ed egumeno
San Teodoro il Siceota fu attratto sin da giovane dalla solitudine, scelse uno stile di vita austero e contro la sua volontà fu ordinato vescovo di Anastasiopoli. Chiese allora insistentemente al patriarca di Costantinopoli di poter ritornare nel suo romitaggio.
Etimologia: Teodoro = regalo, dono di Dio, dal greco
Martirologio Romano: Nel villaggio di Sykéon in Galazia, nell’odierna Turchia, san Teodoro vescovo e egúmeno, che, attratto fin dall’infanzia dalla solitudine, scelse un austero tenore di vita e, ordinato suo malgrado vescovo di Anastasiopoli, chiese con insistenza al patriarca di Costantinopoli di poter fare ritorno al suo eremo.
San Teodoro nacque a Sykeon in Galazia (Asia Minore). La madre e la zia gestivano un albergo che fungeva anche da postribolo, sino a quando giunse un cuoco tanto capace nell'attrarre i clienti che le due donne non ebbero fortunatamente più bisogno di guadagnare il loro necessario prostituendosi. Il cuoco, persona assai devota, incoraggiò anche il giovane Teodoro a frequentare le chiese, gli insegnò a pregare e lo introdusse alla pratica ascetica del digiuno. Questa sorta di direzione spirituale influenzò non poco Teodoro, che decise di farsi eremita presso Arkea, a circa dodici chilometri da casa, ove visse in una grotta antistante una cappella. La sua fama di santità attraeva visitatori, che gli attribuirono addirittura il particolare dono dell'esorcismo contro gli spiriti maligni. Onde evitare che la sua fama si diffondesse ulteriormente, preferì ritirarsi sulle montagne e tentare di vivere in una grotta murata, nota soltanto ad un'altra persona, a cui toccò poi ricondurlo fuori in cattiva salute, sporco ed infetto. A soli diciott'anni ricevette l'ordinazione presbiterale, dopodichè si recò pellegrino a Gerusalemme, dove ricevette l'abito monastico.
Al ritorno da tale esperienza, Teodoro inaugurò un nuovo stile di vita estremamente austero, simile a quello degli stiliti, e prese a vivere sopra alcune ceste sospese. Fu attribuita alla sua intercessione ogni sorta di miracoli, fatto che attirò nuovamente visitatori e discepoli, per i quali si rese necessario organizzare un monastero, un ostello ed una chiesa. Seppur contro la sua volontà, fu eletto vescovo di Anastasiopoli, sede che governò per una decina d'anni, finché ottenne il permesso di rassegnare le dimissioni. Il suo episcopato fu caratterizzato principalmente da miracoli e prodigi. Non restano notizie di suoi “Acta” episcopali, se non tracce di controversie avute con alcuni villaggi delle tenute diocesane, che erano stati affidati a signori laici che maltrattavano ed opprimevano le popolazioni e Teodoro tentò ammaestrare. Diede infine le dimissioni per potersi dedicare anima e corpo alla preghiera ed alla cura dei suoi monaci, che durante la sua assenza avevano assunto costumi piuttosto rilassati. Trovò sistemazione presso Elaiopoli, ma fu poi convocato a Costantinopoli per ricevere grandi onori dall'imperatore, cui aveva guarito il figlio. Trascorse il resto dei suoi giorni in monastero, operando miracoli ed accogliendo i visitatori. Nacque al Cielo nell'anno 613. In tutta la sua vita fu grande devoto di San Giorgio e contribuì alla divulgazione del suo culto.
Autore: Fabio Arduino
Voir aussi : http://www.persee.fr/web/revues/home/prescript/article/rebyz_0766-5598_1972_num_30_1_1459_t1_0345_0000_2