mercredi 11 novembre 2015

Saint THÉODORE le Studite, abbé



Saint Théodore le Studite

Higoumène du monastère du Stoudion ( 826)

Né dans une noble et très chrétienne famille de Constantinople. Il entre dans un monastère dirigé par l'un de ses oncles, mais les moines sont exilés parce qu'ils réprouvent la conduite de l'empereur qui répudie sa femme et en épouse religieusement une autre. Lorsque les raids arabes chassent les moines byzantins de leurs monastères d'Asie Mineure, saint Théodore revient à Constantinople où ses difficultés se sont aplanies. Il est placé à la tête du monastère du 'Stoudios' à qui il fait retrouver la pureté du monachisme primitif. Le règlement du Stoudios servira d'ailleurs de règle à un grand nombre de monastères orientaux. Chaque jour, il adresse à ses frères des catéchèses célèbres. Mais la tempête revient. L'empereur Léon V met hors la loi les saintes images. Théodore résiste et il passera le reste de sa vie dans un exil douloureux. "O philanthropie indicible du Christ, dit-il. Du non-être, il nous a amenés à l'être."

Le 27 mai 2009, Benoît XVI a tracé durant l'audience générale un portrait de saint Théodore Le Studite. Né en 759 dans une famille riche et religieuse, il se fit moine à 22 ans. Son opposition au mariage adultère de l'empereur Constantin VI, le fit exiler à Salonique en 796. Il peut retrouver son monastère de Sakkudion grâce à l'impératrice Irène qui le fit venir à celui de Studios, loin des incursions sarrasines. Il guida ensuite la résistance contre l'iconoclaste Léon V, ce qui lui valut de nouveaux exils à travers l'Asie Mineure. Finalement de retour à Constantinople, il mourut en 826.

Le Pape a d'abord rappelé que Théodore "s'est distingué dans l'histoire de l’Église comme grand réformateur de la vie monastique, puis comme défenseur des icônes avec le Patriarche Nicéphore au cours de la seconde crise iconoclaste... Il insista sur la valeur du monachisme et la nécessaire obéissance des moines...pour que le monastère soit une communauté fonctionnelle, une véritable famille, un corps du Christ comme il disait... Une de ses convictions profondes était que le moine doit observer les devoirs chrétiens avec rigueur et intensité afin d'offrir un exemple aux autres. Pour cela il doit prononcer ses vœux particuliers...comme un second baptême". Puis il a souligné l'importance pour saint Théodore de la pauvreté, de la chasteté et de l'obéissance, qui distinguent les moines des laïcs". La pauvreté personnelle "constitue un élément essentiel du monachisme, qui peut indiquer aussi un cheminement pour les autres fidèles. Les moines vivent radicalement la renonciation à la propriété et aux biens matériels, la sobriété et la simplicité dans un esprit d'égalité. Sans dépendre des choses matérielles, il faut apprendre à renoncer et à être sobre pour qu'une société solidaire puisse surmonter enfin la grave question de la misère du monde... Ces renonciations, Théodore Le Studite les appelaient "un martyre de la soumission". D'ailleurs, le tissu social ne peut tenir qu'en appliquant pour le bien commun ces limites aux règles générales. Ainsi créera-t-on une société libérée de la superbe qui conduit ce monde.

Pour saint Théodore, a ajouté le Pape, "l'humilité était aussi une importante vertu, la Philergia, c'est-à-dire l'amour du travail... Sous prétexte de la prière et de la contemplation, le moine ne doit pas se dispenser de travailler, le travail manuel étant un moyen de rencontrer Dieu... Père spirituel de ses moines, il était toujours prêt à écouter leurs confidences, mais conseillait spirituellement aussi de nombreuses personnes hors de la communauté... La règle du Studite ne fut codifiée qu'après sa mort et adoptée presque complètement au Mont Athos, où elle est toujours en usage, singulièrement d'actualité". Benoît XVI a conclu son exposé en disant qu'il existe de nos jours nombre de "courants qui menacent l'unité de la foi et poussent à un dangereux individualisme spirituel. Il faut donc s'engager dans la défense et dans la croissance de l'unité parfaite de l’Église, dans laquelle paix et ordre peuvent s'articuler harmonieusement avec les rapports personnels dans l'Esprit. L'enseignement du Studite est éclairant en la matière".

(source: VIS 090527)

À Constantinople, en 826, saint Théodore Studite, abbé, qui fit de son monastère une école de sages, de saints et de martyrs, victime des persécutions perpétrées par les iconoclastes; trois fois envoyé en exil, il eut en grand honneur les traditions des pères de l’Église et, pour l’exposé de la foi catholique, il écrivit les célèbres Institutions de la doctrine chrétienne.

Martyrologe romain




BENOÎT XVI

AUDIENCE GÉNÉRALE

Mercredi 27 mai 2009

Saint Théodore le Studite


Chers frères et sœurs!

Le saint que nous rencontrons aujourd'hui, saint Théodore le Studite, nous conduit en plein Moyen Age byzantin, à une période assez tourmentée du point de vue religieux et politique. Saint Théodore naquit en 759 dans une famille noble et pieuse:  sa mère, Théoctiste, et un oncle, Platon, abbé du monastère de Saccoudion en Bithynie, sont vénérés comme des saints. Ce fut précisément son oncle qui l'orienta vers la vie monastique, qu'il embrassa à l'âge de 22 ans. Il fut ordonné prêtre par le patriarche Tarasius, mais rompit ensuite la communion avec lui en raison de la faiblesse dont celui-ci fit preuve à l'occasion du mariage adultérin de l'empereur Constantin vi. La conséquence en fut l'exil de Théodore, en 796, à Thessalonique. La réconciliation avec l'autorité impériale advint l'année suivante sous l'impératrice Irène, dont la bienveillance conduisit Théodore et Platon à s'installer dans le monastère urbain de Stoudios, avec une grande partie de la communauté des moines de Saccoudion, pour éviter les incursions des sarrasins. C'est ainsi que débuta l'importante "réforme studite".

Toutefois, l'histoire personnelle de Théodore continua d'être mouvementée. Avec son énergie habituelle, il devint le chef de la résistance contre l'iconoclasme de Léon v l'Arménien, qui s'opposa de nouveau à l'existence d'images et d'icônes dans l'Eglise. La procession d'icônes organisée par les moines de Stoudios déchaîna la réaction de la police. Entre 815 et 821, Théodore fut flagellé, incarcéré et exilé en divers lieu de l'Asie Mineure. En fin de compte, il put rentrer à Constantinople, mais pas dans son monastère. Il s'installa alors avec ses moines de l'autre côté du Bosphore. Il mourut, semble-t-il, à Prinkipo, le 11 novembre 826, jour où il est célébré dans le calendrier byzantin. Théodore se distingua dans l'histoire de l'Eglise comme l'un des grands réformateurs de la vie monastique et également comme défenseur des images sacrées pendant la deuxième phase de l'iconoclasme, aux côtés du patriarche de Constantinople, saint Nicéphore. Théodore avait compris que la question de la vénération des icônes avait à voir avec la vérité même de l'Incarnation. Dans ses trois livres Antirretikoi (Réfutations), Théodore établit une comparaison entre les relations éternelles intratrinitaires, où l'existence de chaque Personne divine ne détruit pas l'unité, et les relations entre les deux natures en Christ, qui ne compromettent pas, en lui, l'unique Personne du Logos. Et il argumente:  abolir la vénération de l'icône du Christ signifierait effacer son œuvre rédemptrice elle-même, du moment que, assumant la nature humaine, l'invisible Parole éternelle est apparue dans la chair visible humaine et de cette manière a sanctifié tout le cosmos visible. Les icônes, sanctifiées par la bénédiction liturgique et par les prières des fidèles, nous unissent avec la Personne du Christ, avec ses saints et, par leur intermédiaire, avec le Père céleste et témoignent de l'entrée dans la réalité divine de notre cosmos visible et matériel.

Théodore et ses moines, témoins du courage au temps des persécutions iconoclastes, sont liés de façon inséparable à la réforme de la vie cénobitique dans le monde byzantin. Leur importance s'impose déjà en vertu d'une circonstance extérieure:  le nombre. Tandis que les monastères de l'époque ne dépassaient pas trente ou quarante moines, nous apprenons de La vie de Théodore l'existence de plus d'un millier, au total, de moines studites. Théodore lui-même nous informe de la présence dans son monastère d'environ trois cents moines; nous voyons donc l'enthousiasme de la foi qui est né autour de cet homme réellement informé et formé par la foi elle-même. Toutefois, plus que le nombre, c'est le nouvel esprit imprimé par le fondateur à la vie cénobitique qui se révéla influent. Dans ses écrits, il insiste sur l'urgence d'un retour conscient à l'enseignement des Pères, surtout à saint Basile, premier législateur de la vie monastique et à saint Dorothée de Gaza, célèbre père spirituel du désert palestinien. La contribution caractéristique de Théodore consiste à insister sur la nécessité de l'ordre et de la soumission de la part des moines. Au cours des persécutions, ceux-ci s'étaient dispersés, s'habituant à vivre chacun selon son propre jugement. A présent qu'il était possible de reconstituer la vie commune, il fallait s'engager pleinement pour faire du monastère une véritable communauté organisée, une véritable famille ou, comme il le dit, un véritable "Corps du Christ". Dans cette communauté se réalise de façon concrète la réalité de l'Eglise dans son ensemble.

Une autre conviction de fond de Théodore est la suivante:  les moines, par rapport aux séculiers, prennent l'engagement d'observer les devoirs chrétiens avec une plus grande rigueur et intensité. Pour cela, ils prononcent une profession particulière, qui appartient aux hagiasmata (consécrations), et est presque un "nouveau baptême", dont la vêture représente le symbole. En revanche, par rapport aux séculiers, l'engagement à la pauvreté, à la chasteté et à l'obéissance est caractéristique des moines. S'adressant à ces derniers, Théodore parle de façon concrète, parfois presque pittoresque, de la pauvreté, mais celle-ci, dans la suite du Christ, est depuis le début un élément essentiel du monachisme et indique également un chemin pour nous tous. Le renoncement à la possession des choses matérielles, l'attitude de liberté vis-à-vis de celle-ci, ainsi que la sobriété et la simplicité valent de façon radicale uniquement pour les moines, mais l'esprit de ce renoncement est le même pour tous. En effet, nous ne devons pas dépendre de la propriété matérielle, nous devons au contraire apprendre le renoncement, la simplicité, l'austérité et la sobriété. Ce n'est qu'ainsi que peut croître une société solidaire et que peut être surmonté le grand problème de la pauvreté de ce monde. Donc, dans ce sens, le signe radical des moines pauvres indique en substance également une voie pour nous tous. Lorsqu'il expose ensuite les tentations contre la chasteté, Théodore ne cache pas ses expériences et montre le chemin de lutte intérieure pour trouver le contrôle de soi et ainsi, le respect de son corps et de celui de l'autre comme temple de Dieu.

Mais les renoncements principaux sont pour lui ceux exigés par l'obéissance, car chacun des moines a sa propre façon de vivre et l'insertion dans la grande communauté de trois cents moines implique réellement une nouvelle forme de vie, qu'il qualifie de "martyre de la soumission". Ici aussi, les moines donnent uniquement un exemple de combien celui-ci est nécessaire pour nous-mêmes, car, après le péché originel, la tendance de l'homme est de faire sa propre volonté, le principe premier est la vie du monde, tout le reste doit être soumis à sa propre volonté. Mais de cette façon, si chacun ne suit que lui-même, le tissu social ne peut fonctionner. Ce n'est qu'en apprenant à s'insérer dans la liberté commune, à la partager et à s'y soumettre, à apprendre la légalité, c'est-à-dire la soumission et l'obéissance aux règles du bien commun et de la vie commune, qu'une société peut être guérie, de même que le moi lui-même, de l'orgueil d'être au centre du monde. Ainsi, saint Théodore aide ses moines et en définitive, nous aussi, à travers une délicate introspection, à comprendre la vraie vie, à résister à la tentation de placer notre volonté comme règle suprême de vie, et de conserver notre véritable identité personnelle - qui est toujours une identité avec les autres - et la paix du cœur.

Pour Théodore le Studite, une autre vertu, aussi importante que l'obéissance et que l'humilité, est la philergia, c'est-à-dire l'amour du travail, dans lequel il voit un critère pour éprouver la qualité de la dévotion personnelle:  celui qui est fervent dans les engagements matériels, qui travaille avec assiduité, soutient-il, l'est également dans les engagements spirituels. Il n'admet donc pas que, sous le prétexte de la prière et de la contemplation, le moine se dispense du travail, également du travail manuel, qui est en réalité, selon lui et selon toute la tradition monastique, le moyen pour trouver Dieu. Théodore ne craint pas de parler du travail comme du "sacrifice du moine", de sa "liturgie", et même d'une sorte de Messe à travers laquelle la vie monastique devient angélique. C'est précisément ainsi que le monde du travail doit être humanisé et que l'homme à travers le travail devient davantage lui-même, plus proche de Dieu. Une conséquence de cette vision singulière mérite d'être rappelée:  précisément parce qu'étant le fruit d'une forme de "liturgie", les richesses tirées du travail commun ne doivent pas servir au confort des moines, mais être destinées à l'assistance des pauvres. Ici, nous pouvons tous saisir la nécessité que le fruit du travail soit un bien pour tous. Bien évidemment, le travail des "studites" n'était pas seulement manuel:  ils eurent une grande importance dans le développement religieux et culturel de la civilisation byzantine comme calligraphes, peintres, poètes, éducateurs des jeunes, maîtres d'école, bibliothécaires.

Bien qu'exerçant une très vaste activité, Théodore ne se laissait pas distraire de ce qu'il considérait comme strictement lié à sa fonction de supérieur:  être le père spirituel de ses moines. Il connaissait l'influence décisive qu'avaient eu dans sa vie aussi bien sa bonne mère que son saint oncle Platon, qu'il qualifiait du titre significatif de "père". Il exerçait donc à l'égard des moines la direction spirituelle. Chaque jour, rapporte son biographe, après la prière du soir, il se plaçait devant l'iconostase pour écouter les confidences de tous. Il conseillait également spirituellement de nombreuses personnes en dehors du monastère lui-même. Le Testament spirituel et les Lettres soulignent son caractère ouvert et affectueux, et montrent que de sa paternité sont nées de véritables amitiés spirituelles dans le milieu monastique et également en dehors de celui-ci.

La Règle, connue sous le nom d'Hypotyposis, codifiée peu après la mort de Théodore, fut adoptée, avec quelques modifications, sur le Mont Athos, lorsqu'en 962 saint Athanase Athonite y fonda la Grande Lavra, et dans la Rus' de Kiev, lorsqu'au début du deuxième millénaire, saint Théodose l'introduisit dans la Lavra des Grottes. Comprise dans sa signification authentique, la Règle se révèle singulièrement actuelle. Il existe aujourd'hui de nombreux courants qui menacent l'unité de la foi commune et qui poussent vers une sorte de dangereux individualisme spirituel et d'orgueil intellectuel. Il est nécessaire de s'engager pour défendre et faire croître la parfaite unité du Corps du Christ, dans laquelle peuvent se composer de manière harmonieuse la paix de l'ordre et les relations personnelles sincères dans l'Esprit.
Il est peut-être utile de reprendre, pour conclure, certains des éléments principaux de la doctrine spirituelle de Théodore. Amour pour le Seigneur incarné et pour sa visibilité dans la Liturgie et dans les icônes. Fidélité au baptême et engagement à vivre dans la communion du Corps du Christ, entendue également comme communion des chrétiens entre eux. Esprit de pauvreté, de sobriété, de renoncement; chasteté, maîtrise de soi, humilité et obéissance contre le primat de sa propre volonté, qui détruit le tissu social et la paix des âmes. Amour pour le travail matériel et spirituel. Amitié spirituelle née de la purification de sa propre conscience, de son âme, de sa propre vie. Cherchons à suivre ces enseignements qui nous montrent réellement la voie de la vraie vie. 

* * *

Je salue avec joie les pèlerins francophones, particulièrement les groupes de jeunes de Bitche, d’Aix-en-Provence et du Luxembourg, ainsi que les pèlerins de l’Archidiocèse de Clermont-Ferrand. A la suite de saint Théodore le Studite, n’ayez pas peur de vous laisser guider par l’Esprit Saint « hôte très doux de nos âmes ». Avec ma Bénédiction apostolique.

© Copyright 2009 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana






Pope Benedict XVI

St Theodore the Studite

Simplicity and sobriety form a supportive society

On Wednesday, 27 May [2009], at the General Audience in St Peter's Square the Holy Father spoke about St Theodore the Studite, a monk of the medieval Byzantine period who vigorously opposed the iconoclastic movement. The following is a translation of the Pope's Catechesis, which was given in Italian.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The Saint we meet today, St Theodore the Studite, brings us to the middle of the medieval Byzantine period, in a somewhat turbulent period from the religious and political perspectives. St Theodore was born in 759 into a devout noble family: his mother Theoctista and an uncle, Plato, Abbot of the Monastery of Saccudium in Bithynia, are venerated as saints. Indeed it was his uncle who guided him towards monastic life, which he embraced at the age of 22.

He was ordained a priest by Patriarch Tarasius, but soon ended his relationship with him because of the toleration the Patriarch showed in the case of the adulterous marriage of the Emperor Constantine This led to Theodore's exile in 796 to Thessalonica.

He was reconciled with the imperial authority the following year under the Empress Irene, whose benevolence induced Theodore and Plato to transfer to the urban monastery of Studios, together with a large portion of the community of the monks of Saccudium, in order to avoid the Saracen incursions. So it was that the important "Studite Reform" began.
Theodore's personal life, however, continued to be eventful. With his usual energy, he became the leader of the resistance against the iconoclasm of Leo V, the Armenian who once again opposed the existence of images and icons in the Church. The procession of icons organized by the monks of Studios evoked a reaction from the police. Between 815 and 821, Theodore was scourged, imprisoned and exiled to various places in Asia Minor.

In the end he was able to return to Constantinople but not to his own monastery. He therefore settled with his monks on the other side of the Bosporus. He is believed to have died in Prinkipo on 11 November 826, the day on which he is commemorated in the Byzantine Calendar.

Theodore distinguished himself within Church history as one of the great reformers of monastic life and as a defender of the veneration of sacred images, beside St Nicephorus, Patriarch of Constantinople, in the second phase of the iconoclasm.

Theodore had realized that the issue of the veneration of icons was calling into question the truth of the Incarnation itself. In his three books, the Antirretikoi (Confutation), Theodore makes a comparison between eternal intra-Trinitarian relations, in which the existence of each of the divine Persons does not destroy their unity, and the relations between Christ's two natures, which do not jeopardize in him the one Person of the Logos.

He also argues: abolishing veneration of the icon of Christ would mean repudiating his redeeming work, given that, in assuming human nature, the invisible eternal Word appeared in visible human flesh and in so doing sanctified the entire visible cosmos. Theodore and his monks, courageous witnesses in the period of the iconoclastic persecutions, were inseparably bound to the reform of coenobitic life in the Byzantine world. Their importance was notable if only for an external circumstance: their number. Whereas the number of monks in monasteries of that time did not exceed 30 or 40, we know from the Life of Theodore of the existence of more than 1,000 Studite monks overall. Theodore himself tells us of the presence in his monastery of about 300 monks; thus we see the enthusiasm of faith that was born within the context of this man's being truly informed and formed by faith itself.

However, more influential than these numbers was the new spirit the Founder impressed on coenobitic life. In his writings, he insists on the urgent need for a conscious return to the teaching of the Fathers, especially to St Basil, the first legislator of monastic life, and to St Dorotheus of Gaza, a famous spiritual Father of the Palestinian desert.

Theodore's characteristic contribution consists in insistence on the need for order and submission on the monks' part. During the persecutions they had scattered and each one had grown accustomed to living according to his own judgement. Then, as it was possible to re-establish community life, it was necessary to do the utmost to make the monastery once again an organic community, a true family, or, as St Theodore said, a true "Body of Christ". In such a community the reality of the Church as a whole is realized concretely.

Another of St Theodore's basic convictions was this: monks, differently from lay people, take on the commitment to observe the Christian duties with greater strictness and intensity. For this reason they make a special profession which belongs to the hagiasmata (consecrations), and it is, as it were, a "new Baptism", symbolized by their taking the habit.
Characteristic of monks in comparison with lay people, then, is the commitment to poverty, chastity and obedience. In addressing his monks, Theodore spoke in a practical, at times picturesque manner about poverty, but poverty in the following of Christ is from the start an essential element of monasticism and also points out a way for all of us.

The renunciation of private property, this freedom from material things, as well as moderation and simplicity apply in a radical form only to monks, but the spirit of this renouncement is equal for all. Indeed, we must not depend on material possessions but instead must learn renunciation, simplicity, austerity and moderation. Only in this way can a supportive society develop and the great problem of poverty in this world be overcome.
Therefore, in this regard the monks' radical poverty is essentially also a path for us all. Then when he explains the temptations against chastity, Theodore does not conceal his own experience and indicates the way of inner combat to find self control and hence respect for one's own body and for the body of the other as a temple of God.

However, the most important renunciations in his opinion are those required by obedience, because each one of the monks has his own way of living, and fitting into the large community of 300 monks truly involves a new way of life which he describes as the "martyrdom of submission".

Here too the monks' example serves to show us how necessary this is for us, because, after the original sin, man has tended to do what he likes. The first principle is for the life of the world, all the rest must be subjected to it. However, in this way, if each person is self-centred, the social structure cannot function.

Only by learning to fit into the common freedom, to share and to submit to it, learning legality, that is, submission and obedience to the rules of the common good and life in common, can society be healed, as well as the self, of the pride of being the centre of the world.

Thus St Theodore, with fine introspection, helped his monks and ultimately also helps us to understand true life, to resist the temptation to set up our own will as the supreme rule of life and to preserve our true personal identity — which is always an identity shared with others — and peace of heart.

For Theodore the Studite an important virtue on a par with obedience and humility is philergia, that is, the love of work, in which he sees a criterion by which to judge the quality of personal devotion: the person who is fervent and works hard in material concerns, he argues, will be the same in those of the spirit. Therefore he does not permit the monk to dispense with work, including manual work, under the pretext of prayer and contemplation; for work — to his mind and in the whole monastic tradition — is actually a means of finding God.

Theodore is not afraid to speak of work as the "sacrifice of the monk", as his "liturgy", even as a sort of Mass through which monastic life becomes angelic life. And it is precisely in this way that the world of work must be humanized and man, through work, becomes more himself and closer to God.

One consequence of this unusual vision is worth remembering: precisely because it is the fruit of a form of "liturgy", the riches obtained from common work must not serve for the monks' comfort but must be ear-marked for assistance to the poor. Here we can all understand the need for the proceeds of work to be a good for all.

Obviously the "Studites'" work was not only manual: they had great importance in the religious and cultural development of the Byzantine civilization as calligraphers, painters, poets, educators of youth, school teachers and librarians.

Although he exercised external activities on a truly vast scale, Theodore did not let himself be distracted from what he considered closely relevant to his role as superior: being the spiritual father of his monks. He knew what a crucial influence both his good mother and his holy uncle Plato — whom he described with the significant title "father" — had had on his life.

Thus he himself provided spiritual direction for the monks. Every day, his biographer says, after evening prayer he would place himself in front of the iconostasis to listen to the confidences of all. He also gave spiritual advice to many people outside the monastery.

The Spiritual Testament and the Letters highlight his open and affectionate character, and show that true spiritual friendships were born from his fatherhood both in the monastic context and outside it.

The Rule, known by the name of Hypotyposis, codified shortly after Theodore's death, was adopted, with a few modifications, on Mount Athos when in 962 St Athanasius Anthonite founded the Great Laura there, and in the Kievan Rus', when at the beginning of the second millennium St Theodosius introduced it into the Laura of the Grottos.

Understood in its genuine meaning, the Rule has proven to be unusually up to date. Numerous trends today threaten the unity of the common faith and impel people towards a sort of dangerous spiritual individualism and spiritual pride. It is necessary to strive to defend and to increase the perfect unity of the Body of Christ, in which the peace of order and sincere personal relations in the Spirit can be harmoniously composed.

It may be useful to return at the end to some of the main elements of Theodore's spiritual doctrine: love for the Lord incarnate and for his visibility in the Liturgy and in icons; fidelity to Baptism and the commitment to live in communion with the Body of Christ, also understood as the communion of Christians with each other; a spirit of poverty, moderation and renunciation; chastity, self-control, humility and obedience against the primacy of one's own will that destroys the social fabric and the peace of souls; love for physical and spiritual work; spiritual love born from the purification of one's own conscience, one's own soul, one's own life.

Let us seek to comply with these teachings that really do show us the path of true life.

Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
3 June 2009, page 15

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St. Theodore of Studium

A zealous champion of the veneration of images and the last geat representative of the unity and independence of the Church in the East, b. in 759; d. on the Peninsula of Tryphon, near the promontory Akrita on 11 November, 826. He belonged to a very distinguished family and like his two brothers, one of whom, Joseph, became Archbishop of Thessalonica, was highly educated. In 781 theodore entered the monastery of Saccudion on the Asiatic side of the Bosphorus near Constantinople, where his uncle Plato was abbot. In 787 or 788 Theodore was ordained priest and in 794 succeeded his uncle. He insisted upon the exact observance of the monastic rules. During the Adulterine heresy dispute (see SAINT NICEPHORUS), concerning the divorce and remarriage of the Emperor Constantine VI, he was banished by Constantine VI to Thessalonica, but returned in triumph after the emperor's overthrow. In 799 he left Saccudion, which was threatened by the Arabs, and took charge of the monastery of the Studium at Constantinople. He gave the Studium an excellent organization which was taken as a model by the entire Byzantine monastic world, and still exists on Mount Athos and in Russian monasticism. He supplemented the somewhat theoretical rules of St. Basil by specific regulations concerning enclosure, poverty, discipline, study, religious services, fasts, and manual labour. When the Adulterine heresy dispute broke out again in 809, he was exiled a second time as the head of the strictly orthodox church part, but was recalled in 811. The administration of the iconoclastic Emperor Leo V brought new and more severe trials. Theodore courageously denied the emperor's right to interfere in ecclesiastical affairs. He was consequently treated with great cruelty, exiled, and his monastery filled with iconoclastic monks. Theodore lived at Metopa in Bithynia from 814, then at Bonita from 819, and finally at Smyrna. Even in banishment he was the central point of the opposition to Cæsaropapism and Iconoclasm. Michael II (810-9) permitted the exiles to return, but did not annul the laws of his predecessor. Thus Theodore saw himself compelled to continue the struggle. He did not return to the Studium, and died without having attained his ideals. In the Roman Martyrology his feast is placed on 12 November; in the Greek martyrologies on 11 November.

Theodore was a man of practical bent and never wrote any theological works, except a dogmatic treatise on the veneration of images. Many of his works are still unprinted or exist in Old Slavonic and Russian translations. Besides several polemics against the enemies of images, special mention should be made of the "Catechesis magna", and the "Catechesis parva" with their sonorous sermons and orations. His writings on monastic life are: the iambic verses on the monastic offices, his will addressed to the monks, the "Canones", and the "Pænæ monasteriales", the regulations for the monastery and for the church services. His hymns and epigrams show fiery feeling and a high spirit. He is one of the first of hymn-writers in productiveness, in a peculiarly creative technic, and in elegance of language. 550 letters testify to his ascetical and ecclesiastico-political labours.

Sources

     Theodorus Studites, Opera varia, ed. SIRMOND (Paris, 1696); P.G., XCIX; Nova patrum bibl., V, VIII, IX, X (Rome, 1849, 1871, 1888, 1905); Theodorus Studites, Parva Catechesis, ed. AUVRAT-TOUGARD (Paris, 1891); Bibl. hagiogr. Græca (2nd ed., Brussels, 1909), 249; THOMAS, Theodor von Studien (Osnabrück, 1892); GARDNER, Theodore of Studium (London, 1905).

Löffler, Klemens. "St. Theodore of Studium." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 14. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1912. 11 Nov. 2015 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14574a.htm>.



Theodore the Studite, Abbot (RM)


Born at Constantinople in 759; died at Akrita, 826. Saint Theodore was the son of an imperial treasury official. Theodore became a novice at a monastery established by his father on his estate at Saccudium (Sakkoudion) near Constantinople, where he was sent to study by his uncle Abbot Saint Plato of Symboleon.


He was ordained in 787 in Constantinople, returned to the monastery, and in 794 succeeded his uncle as abbot of the monastery of Sakkoudion in Bithynia. He and his monks were banished for a short time in 796 for his refusal to countenance Emperor Constantine VI's divorce and remarriage to Theodota but they returned when Constantine's mother, Irene, seized power, dethroned and then blinded her son.

Theodore reopened Sakkoudion but in 799 he transferred his community to Constantinople to escape the Saracen raids. There they occupied the monastery founded by the Roman consul Studius in 463 and he was again named abbot. The Studios Monastery was famous partly because of its age, but it had been neglected and rundown. Under Theodore's direction this house developed remarkably from 12 monks to a thousand.

Theodore's ideals and regulations have had a far-reaching influence in Byzantine monasticism. He encouraged learning and the arts, founded a school of calligraphy, and wrote a rule for the monastery that was adopted in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, and even on Mount Athos. He restored liturgical prayer, community life, enclosure, poverty, and manual labor among his monks. These reforms and developments were brought about under great external difficulties.

When he opposed the emperor's appointment of a layman, Nicephorus, to succeed Tarasius, who had died in 806 as patriarch of Constantinople, Theodore was imprisoned by the emperor.

From 809 to 811 Theodore was in exile on Prince's Island with his uncle Plato and his brother Archbishop Joseph of Thessalonica on account of further troubles arising out of the late emperor's adultery. At that time the emperor dispersed the monks of Studios. Theodore returned to Constantinople on the emperor's death and was reconciled to Patriarch Nicephorus in a common fight against Emperor Leo V the Armenian, who revived iconoclasm as an imperial policy. When Nicephorus was banished, Theodore organized public resistance, and he was again exiled to Mysia in 813.

For seven years he was confined at various places with extreme rigor, even to being flogged by his jailers. But he continued by letter to encourage his followers to keep up the struggle, and he sent an appeal to Pope Paschal I (emphasizing the primacy of the bishop of Rome), who sent legates to Constantinople; but they achieved nothing except Theodore's removal to Bonita in Anatolia (now in Turkey). He endured great hardships for the three years he was imprisoned there and was then transferred to Smyrna and placed in the custody of an iconoclast bishop who wanted him beheaded and treated him with great harshness.

After the violent death of Leo V in 820, Theodore was released, but was again faced with a renewed iconoclasm under Emperor Michael the Stammerer, and was not allowed to return permanently to the Studite monastery. Theodore left Constantinople and visited monasteries in Bithynia, founded a monastery on Akrita for many of his monks who had followed him, and he died there in semi-exile on November 11. Saint Theodore stands out as a champion of the Church's religious independence of civil power, a defender of the legitimacy of sacred images, and a monastic reformer of genius. He has been called an incomparable agitator: he was certainly strong-willed and intransigent, even domineering; but there was a less rigid side to him, which can be seen in some of the more personal of his very numerous extant letters. There have also survived, as well as polemical writings, catechetical works, sermons, hymns, and epigrams. Saint Theodore was also a skilled calligrapher, an art which he fostered among his monks (Attwater, Benedictines, Delaney, Gardner).

This anonymous Russian icon shows Saint Theodore with Saint Theodosius the Great. 





Saint Theodore the Confessor, Abbot of the Studion was born in the year 758 at Constantinople into a family of the imperial tax-collector Photinus and his spouse Theoctiste, both pious Christians. St Theodore received a good education from the best rhetoricians, philosophers and theologians in the capital city.

During this time the Iconoclast heresy had become widespread in the Byzantine Empire, and it was supported also by the impious emperor Constantine Kopronymos (741-775). The views of the emperor and his court conflicted with the religious beliefs of Photinus, who was a fervent adherent of Orthodoxy, and so he left government service. Later, St Theodore’s parents, by mutual consent, gave away their substance to the poor, took their leave of each other and accepted monastic tonsure. Their son Theodore soon became widely known in the capital for his participation of the numerous disputes concerning icon-veneration.

St Theodore was accomplished in oratory, and had a command of the terminology and logic of the philosophers, so he frequently debated with the heretics. His knowledge of Holy Scripture and Christian dogma was so profound that no one could get the better of him.

The Seventh Ecumenical Council put an end to dissension and brought peace to the Church under the empress Irene. The Ecumenical Council, as the highest authority in the life of the Church, forever condemned and rejected Iconoclasm.

Among the Fathers of the Council was St Platon (April 5), an uncle of St Theodore, and who for a long time had lived the ascetic life on Mount Olympos. An Elder filled with the grace of the Holy Spirit, St Platon, at the conclusion of the Council, summoned his nephew Theodore and his brothers Joseph and Euthymius to the monastic life in the wilderness.

After leaving Constantinople, they went to Sakkoudion, not far from Olympos. The solitude and the beauty of the place, and its difficulty of access, met with the approval of the Elder and his nephews, and they decided to remain here. The brothers built a church dedicated to St John the Theologian, and gradually the number of monks began to increase. A monastery was formed, and St Platon was the igumen.

St Theodore’s life was truly ascetic. He toiled at heavy and dirty work. He strictly kept the fasts, and each day he confessed to his spiritual Father, the Elder Platon, revealing to him all his deeds and thoughts, carefully fulfilling all his counsels and instructions.

Theodore made time for daily spiritual reflection, baring his soul to God. Untroubled by any earthly concern, he offered Him mystic worship. St Theodore unfailingly read the Holy Scripture and works of the holy Fathers, especially the works of St Basil the Great, which were like food for his soul.

After several years of monastic life, St Theodore was ordained a priest according to the will of his spiritual Father. When St Platon went to his rest, the brethren unanimously chose St Theodore as Igumen of the monastery. Unable to oppose the wish of his confessor, St Theodore accepted the choice of the brethren, but imposed upon himself still greater deeds of asceticism. He taught the others by the example of his own virtuous life and also by fervent fatherly instruction.

When the emperor transgressed against the Church’s canons, the events of outside life disturbed the tranquility in the monastic cells. St Theodore bravely distributed a letter to the other monasteries, in which he declared the emperor Constantine VI (780-797) excommunicated from the Church by his own actions for abusing the divine regulations concerning Christian marriage.

St Theodore and ten of his co-ascetics were sent into exile to the city of Thessalonica. But there also the accusing voice of the monk continued to speak out. Upon her return to the throne in 796, St Irene freed St Theodore and made him igumen of the Studion monastery (dedicated to St John the Baptist) in Constantinople, in which there were only twelve monks. The saint soon restored and enlarged the monastery, attracting about 1,000 monks who wished to have him as their spiritual guide.

St Theodore composed a Rule of monastic life, called the “Studite Rule” to govern the monastery. St Theodore also wrote many letters against the Iconoclasts. For his dogmatic works, and also for his Canons and Three-Ode Canons, St Theoctistus called St Theodore “a fiery teacher of the Church.”

When Nicephorus seized the imperial throne, deposing the pious Empress Irene, he also violated Church regulations by restoring to the Church a previously excommunicated priest on his own authority. St Theodore again denounced the emperor. After torture, the monk was sent into exile once again, where he spent more than two years.

St Theodore was freed by the gentle and pious emperor Michael, who succeeded to the throne upon the death of Nicephoros and his son Staurikios in a war against barbarians. Their death had been predicted by St Theodore for a long while. In order to avert civil war, the emperor Michael abdicated the throne in favor of his military commander Leo the Armenian.

The new emperor proved to be an iconoclast. The hierarchs and teachers of the Church attempted to reason with the impious emperor, but in vain. Leo prohibited the veneration of holy icons and desecrated them. Grieved by such iniquity, St Theodore and the brethren made a religious procession around the monastery with icons raised high, singing of the troparion to the icon of the Savior Not-Made-by-Hands (August 16). The emperor angrily threatened the saint with death, but he continued to encourage believers in Orthodoxy. Then the emperor sentenced St Theodore and his disciple Nicholas to exile, at first in Illyria at the fortress of Metopa, and later in Anatolia at Bonias. But even from prison the confessor continued his struggle against heresy.

Tormented by the executioners which the emperor sent to Bonias, deprived almost of food and drink, covered over with sores and barely alive, Theodore and Nicholas endured everything with prayer and thanksgiving to God. At Smyrna, where they sent the martyrs from Bonias, St Theodore healed a military commander from a terrible illness. The man was a nephew of the emperor and of one mind with him. St Theodore told him to repent of his wicked deeds of Iconoclasm, and to embrace Orthodoxy. But the fellow later relapsed into heresy, and then died a horrible death.

Leo the Armenian was murdered by his own soldiers, and was replaced by the equally impious though tolerant emperor Michael II Traulos (the Stammerer). The new emperor freed all the Orthodox Fathers and confessors from prison, but he prohibited icon-veneration in the capital.

St Theodore did not want to return to Constantinople and so decided to settle in Bithynia on the promontory of Akrita, near the church of the holy Martyr Tryphon. In spite of serious illness, St Theodore celebrated Divine Liturgy daily and instructed the brethren. Foreseeing his end, the saint summoned the brethren and bade them to preserve Orthodoxy, to venerate the holy icons and observe the monastic rule. Then he ordered the brethren to take candles and sing the Canon for the Departure of the Soul From the Body. Just before singing the words “I will never forget Thy statutes, for by them have I lived,” St Theodore fell asleep in the Lord, in the year 826. At the same hour St Hilarion of Dalmatia (June 6) saw a vision of a heavenly light during the singing and the voice was heard, “This is the soul of St Theodore, who suffered even unto blood for the holy icons, which now departs unto the Lord.”

St Theodore worked many miracles during his life and after his death. Those invoking his name have been delivered from fires, and from the attacks of wild beasts, they have received healing, thanks to God and to St Theodore the Studite. On January 26 we celebrate the transfer of the relics of Theodore the Studite from Cherson to Constantinople in the year 845.

Those with stomach ailments entreat the help of St Theodore.

SOURCE : http://oca.org/saints/lives/2015/11/11/103281-venerable-theodore-the-confessor-the-abbot-of-the-studion

November 22

St. Theodorus the Studite, Abbot

ST. PLATO, the holy abbot of Symboleon upon Mount Olympus, in Bithynia, being obliged to come to Constantinople for certain affairs, was received there as an angel sent from heaven, and numberless conversions were the fruit of his example and pious exhortations. He reconciled families that were at variance, promoted all virtue, and corrected vice. Soon after his return to Symboleon, the whole illustrious family of his sister Theoctista resolved to imitate his example, and, renouncing the world, founded the abbey of Saccudion near Constantinople in 781. Among these novices no one was more fervent in every practice of virtue than Theodorus, the son of Theoctista, then in the twenty-second year of his age. St. Plato was with difficulty prevailed upon to resign his abbacy in Bithynia to take upon him the government of this new monastery, in 782. Theodorus made so great progress in virtue and learning that, in 794, his uncle abdicated the government of the house, and, by the unanimous consent of the community, invested him in that dignity, shutting himself up in a narrow cell.

The young emperor Constantine having, in 795, put away Mary, his lawful wife, after seven years’ cohabitation, and taken to his bed Theodota, a near relation of SS. Plato and Theodorus, the saints declared loudly against such scandalous enormities. The emperor desired exceedingly to gain Theodorus, and employed for that purpose his new empress Theodota; but though she used her utmost endeavours, by promises of large sums of money and great presents, and by the consideration of their kindred, her attempts were fruitless. The emperor then went himself to the monastery; but neither the abbot nor any of his monks were there to receive him. The prince returned to his palace in a great rage, and sent two officers with an order to see Theodorus and those monks who were his most resolute adherents severely scourged. The punishment was inflicted on the abbot and ten monks with such cruelty that the blood ran down their bodies in streams; which they suffered with great meekness and patience. After this they were banished to Thessalonica, and a strict order was published, forbidding any one to receive or entertain them, so that even the abbots of that country durst not afford them any relief. St. Plato was confined in the abbey of St. Michael. St. Theodorus wrote him from Thessalonica an account of his sufferings, with the particulars of his journey. 1 He wrote also to Pope Leo III. and received an answer highly commending his wisdom and constancy. The emperor’s mother, Irene, having gained the principal officers, dethroned her son, and ordered his eyes to be put out: which was executed with such violence that he died of the wounds in 797. After this Irene reigned five years alone, and recalled the exiles. St. Theodorus returned to Saccudion, and reassembled his scattered flock; but finding this monastery exposed to the insults of the Mussulmans or Saracens, who made incursions to the gates of Constantinople, took shelter within the walls of the city. The patriarch and the empress pressed him to settle in the famous monastery of Studius, so called from its founder, a patrician and consul, who, coming from Rome to Constantinople, had formerly built that monastery. Constantine Copronymus had expelled the monks; but St. Theodorus restored this famous abbey, and had the comfort to see in it above a thousand monks.

In 802 the empress Irene was deposed by Nicephorus, her chief treasurer, and banished to a monastery in Prince’s Island, and afterwards to the Isle of Lesbos, where she died in close confinement in 803. Nicephorus assumed the imperial diadem on the last day of October, in 802. He was one of the most treacherous and perfidious of men, dissimulation being his chief talent, and it was accompanied with the basest cruelty against all whom he but suspected to be his enemies; of which the chronicles of Theophanes and Nicephorus have preserved most shocking instances. He was a fast friend to the Manichees or Paulicians. who were numerous in Phrygia and Lycaonia, near his own country, and was fond of their oracles and superstitions to a degree of frenzy. He grievously oppressed the Catholic bishops and monasteries, and when remonstrances were made to him by a prudent friend, how odious he had rendered himself to the whole empire by his avarice and impiety, his answer was, “My heart is hardened. Never expect any thing but what you see from Nicephorus.” Setting out in May, in 811, to invade Bulgaria, he desired to gain St. Theodorus, who had boldly reproved him for his impiety. He sent certain magistrates to the holy abbot for this purpose. The saint answered them as if he was speaking to the emperor, and said: “You ought to repent, and not make the evil incurable. Not content to bring yourselves to the brink of the precipice, you drag others headlong after you. He, whose eye beholdeth all things, declareth by my mouth that you shall not return from this expedition.” Nicephorus entered Bulgaria with a superior force, and refused all terms which Crummius, king of the Bulgarians, offered him. The barbarian, being driven to despair, came upon him by surprise, enclosed, attacked, and slew him in his tent on the 25th of July, in 811, when he had reigned eight years and nine months. Many patricians and the flower of the Christian army perished in this action. Great numbers were made prisoners, and many of these were tormented, hanged, beheaded, or shot to death with arrows, rather than consent to renounce their faith, as the Bulgarians, who were then pagans, would have forced them to do. These are honoured by the Greeks as martyrs on the 23rd of July. King Crummius caused a drinking-cup to be made of the emperor’s head, to be used on solemn festivals, according to the custom of the ancient Scythians. Stanricius, the son of Nicephorus, was proclaimed emperor; but he, being wounded in the late battle, took the monastic habit, and died of his wounds in the beginning of the following year. Two months after the death of Nicephorus, Michael Curopolates, surnamed Rangabè, who had married Procopia, the daughter of Nicephorus, was crowned emperor on the 2nd of October. He was magnificent, liberal, pious, and a zealous Catholic. By his endeavours all divisions in the church of Constantinople were made up, and the patriarch St. Nicephorus reconciled with St. Plato and St. Theodorus. Michael commanded the Paulicians to be punished with death; and some were beheaded. But St. Nicephorus put a stop to the further execution of that edict, by persuading him that it was better to leave those heretics room for repentance, though the abominations which they practised were most execrable. An Armenian called Paul, who made his escape from Constantinople into Cappadocia, and there, setting up a school, and pretending to inspiration, continued chief of this sect for thirty years: from him these Manichees were called Paulicians, but, by his sons and others, were soon divided into several sects, all infamous for abominable impurities. 2 St. Plato died in 813, on the 19th of March, and the Emperor Michael having been shamefully defeated by the Bulgarians, resolved to resign the empire. This design he communicated to Leo the Armenian, governor of Natolia, and son of the patrician Bardas, who thereupon was chosen and crowned emperor, on the 11th of July. Michael, with his wife and children, took sanctuary in a church, and all of them embraced the monastic state. Leo defended Constantinople against the barbarians; but having perfidiously attempted to kill their king, under pretence of a conference, that prince, in a rage, took Adrianople, and carried the archbishop Manuel and the rest of the inhabitants captives into Bulgaria, where they converted many to the Christian faith. For their zeal in preaching Christ, the archbishop and three hundred and seventy-six other Christian captives were put to cruel deaths by order of the successor of Crummius. The Greek church honours them as martyrs on the 22nd of January.

During these public commotions, St. Theodorus enjoyed the sweet calm of his retirement, studying every day to advance in the perfection of holy charity, and to die more perfectly to himself. He was versed in the sciences, but was the more solicitous to acquire a settled humility of heart, without which learning serves only to puff up. Humility and purity of heart give light of understanding, purge the affections, and illustrate the mind; for it is impossible, as Cassian remarks, 3 that an unclean mind should obtain the gift of spiritual knowledge, or an unmortified heart that of divine charity. Our saint’s solitude was disturbed by a storm which threatened the Eastern church. The heresy of the Iconoclasts, which Leo the Isaurian had set up in the East in 725, was espoused by Leo the Armenian, who, in December, 814, signified his intention of abolishing holy images to the patriarch St. Nicephorus. The patriarch replied: “We cannot alter the ancient traditions. We venerate images as we do the cross and the book of the gospels, though there is nothing written concerning them,” (for the Iconoclasts agreed to reverence the cross and the gospels.) The holy patriarch was deprived in 815, and Theodotus Cassiterus, an Iconoclast, at that time equerry to the emperor, an illiterate layman, was ordained in his room. As soon as Nicephorus was deposed, the enemies of holy images began to deface, pull down, burn, and profane them all manner of ways. St. Theodorus the Studite, to repair this scandal as much as in him lay, ordered all his monks to take images in their hands, and to carry them solemnly lifted up in the procession on Palm-Sunday, singing a hymn which begins, “We reverence thy most pure image,” and others of the like nature, in honour of Christ. The emperor, upon notice hereof, sent him a prohibition to do the like upon pain of scourging and death. The holy abbot, nevertheless, continued to encourage all to honour holy images, for which the emperor banished him into Mysia, and commanded him to be there closely confined in the castle of Mesope, near Apollonia. He forbore not still to animate the Catholics by letters, of which a great number are extant. His correspondence being discovered, the emperor ordered him to be conveyed to the tower Bonitus, at a greater distance, in Natolia; and afterwards sent Nicetas, his commissary, to see him severely scourged. Nicetas, seeing the cheerfulness with which St. Theodorus put off his tunic, and offered his naked body, wasted with fasting, to the blows, was moved with compassion, and conceived the highest veneration for the servant of God. In order to spare him, as often as the sentence was to be executed, he contrived, under pretence of decency, to send all others out of the dungeon; then, throwing a sheep-skin over Theodorus’s back, he discharged upon it a great number of blows, which were heard by those without; then pricking his arm, to stain the whips with blood, he showed them when he came out, and seemed out of breath with the pains he had taken. By his indulgence, St. Theodorus was able to write several letters in support of the Catholic cause. The most remarkable are those which he sent to all the patriarchs, and to Pope Paschal. To this last he writes: “Give ear, O apostolic prelate, shepherd appointed by God over the flock of Jesus Christ; who have received the keys of the kingdom of heaven; the rock on which the Catholic church is built; for you are Peter, since you fill his see. Come to our assistance.” 4 The pope having vigorously ejected from his communion Theodotus and all the Iconoclasts, St. Theodorus wrote him a letter of thanks, in which he said: “You are from the beginning the pure source of the orthodox faith: you are the secure harbour of the universal church, her shelter against the storms of heretics, and the city of refuge chosen by God for safety.” 5 All the five patriarchs were unanimous in the condemnation of the Iconoclasts, as appears by the letters of St. Theodorus, and other monuments.

Several famous Iconoclasts having been converted by our saint, he and his disciple Nicholas were both hung in the air, and cruelly torn with whips, each receiving a hundred stripes. After this they were shut up in a close and noisome prison, so strictly guarded, that no one could come near them. Here they remained three years, enduring extreme cold in winter, and almost stifled in summer; eaten by all sorts of vermin, and tormented with hunger and thirst: for their guards, who were continually scoffing at them, threw them in at a hole in a window only a little piece of bread every other day. St. Theodorus testifies, that he expected they would be left very soon to perish with hunger; and adds, “God is yet but too merciful to us.” 6 He strenuously maintained the rigorous discipline of canonical penances, which all penitents were to undergo, who, for fear of torments or otherwise, had conformed to the Iconoclasts. 7 One of his letters being at length intercepted, the emperor sent orders to the governor of the East, to cause him to be severely chastised. The governor committed the execution to an officer, who caused Nicholas, the disciple who had written the letter, to be cruelly scourged; then a hundred stripes to be given to Theodorus; and after this, Nicholas to be again scourged, and then to be left lying on the ground, exposed to the cold air, in the month of February. The abbot Theodorus also lay stretched on the ground, out of breath, and was a long time unable to take any rest, or receive almost any nourishment. His disciple, seeing him in this condition, forgetting his own pain, moistened his tongue with a little broth, and, after he had brought him to himself, endeavoured to dress his wounds, from which he was forced to cut away a great deal of mortified and corrupted flesh. Theodorus was in a high fever, and for three months in excessive pain. Before he was recovered, an officer arrived, sent by the emperor to conduct him and Nicholas to Smyrna, in June, 819. They were forced to walk in the day-time, and at night were put in irons.

At Smyrna, the archbishop, who was one of the most furious among the Iconoclasts, kept Theodorus confined in a dark dungeon under ground eighteen months, and caused him to receive a third time a hundred stripes. When the saint set out from thence to be conveyed to Constantinople, the inhuman archbishop said, he would desire the emperor to send an officer to cut off his head, or at least to cut out his tongue. The persecution ended the same year, with the life of him who had raised it. Michael, commander of the confederates, (a body of troops so called), was cast into prison by the emperor for a conspiracy against him, and his execution was only deferred one day, out of respect to the feast of Christmas, at the intercession of the empress. In the meantime the rest of the conspirators slew Leo at matins on Christmas night: his four sons and their mother were banished to the isle of Prote; and Michael was taken out of his dungeon, and, his fetters being knocked off, was crowned emperor. He was a native of Phrygia, and, from an impediment in his speech, is surnamed Michael the Stutterer. He had been educated in a certain heresy, in which was a mixture of Judaism, most of its laws being observed by this sect, except that baptism is substituted for circumcision, as Theophanes informs us. He denied the resurrection, maintained fornication to be lawful, and contemned studies, valuing himself only in the knowledge of mules, horses, and sheep. He at first affected great moderation towards the Catholics, but soon threw off the mask, and became a great persecutor. In the beginning of his reign the exiles were restored, and, among others, St. Theodorus the Studite came out of his dungeon, after full seven years’ imprisonment, from 815 to 821. He wrote a letter of thanks to Michael, exhorting him to be united with Rome, the first of the churches, and by her with the patriarchs, &c. Going towards Constantinople, he was received with the greatest honours, and wrought many miracles on the road. The new emperor refused to suffer any images in the city of Constantinople: on which account St. Theodorus, after making fruitless remonstrances to that prince, left it, and retired into the peninsula of St. Tryphon, and was followed by his disciples. He was taken ill in the beginning of November, yet walked to church on the fourth day, which was Sunday, and celebrated the holy sacrifice. His distemper increasing, he was not able to speak aloud, but he dictated to a secretary his last instructions, and to a great number of bishops and devout persons, who came to visit him in his sickness; and he left his monks an excellent testament, recommending to them fervour in all monastic duties, never to have any property, not so much as of a needle; to leave the care of temporal things to their stewards, exacting from them an account, and reserving to themselves only the care of souls; to admit no delicacy in eating, not even in the entertainment of guests; to keep no money in the monastery, and to give all superfluity to the poor; to walk on foot, and, when necessary to ride in long journeys, to make use only of an ass; not to open the gate of the monastery to any woman, nor ever to speak to any except in presence of two witnesses; to catechise or hold conferences three times a week; to transact no business, spiritual or temporal, without taking the advice of the master, &c. These rules were then observed by the monks in the East, and are more enlarged upon in his greater catechism. When his last hour approached, he desired the usual prayers of the church to be read, received extreme unction, and afterwards the viaticum. After this, the wax tapers were lighted, and his brethren, placing themselves round about him in a circle, began the prayers appointed for dying persons. They were singing the hundred and eighteenth psalm, which the Greeks still sing at funerals, when he expired, in the sixty-eighth year of his age. He died in the peninsula of Tryphon, on the coast of Bithynia, near Constantinople, on the 11th of November, and is commemorated by the Latins on the day following. His successor, Naucratius, abbot of Studius, wrote the circumstances of his death in a circular letter. His body was translated to the monastery of Studius, eighteen years after his death. See the letter of Naucratius, and the saint’s authentic anonymous life; also Theophanes in Chronogr., &c.

Note 1. Ep. 3. [back]

Note 2. See Theophan. Contin. [back]

Note 3. Collat. 14, c. 10. [back]

Note 4. S. Theod. Studit. ep. 3. [back]

Note 5. Ep. 15. [back]

Note 6. Ep. 34. [back]

Note 7. Ep. 11. &c. [back]

Rev. Alban Butler (1711–73).  Volume XI: November. The Lives of the Saints.  1866.


SOURCE : http://www.bartleby.com/210/11/222.html

V. Grumel . «L'iconologie de saint Théodore Studite  », Échos d'Orient, Année 1921 Volume 20, Numéro 123, pp. 257-268 : http://www.persee.fr/doc/rebyz_1146-9447_1921_num_20_123_4282

M. Jugie . « La doctrine mariale de saint Théodore Studite », Échos d'Orient Année 1926, Volume 25,  Numéro 144, pp. 421-427 : http://www.persee.fr/doc/rebyz_1146-9447_1926_num_25_144_4588