Skip to comments.Greatmartyr Theodore the Tyro ("the Recruit") February 17th
Posted on 02/16/2006 7:51:58 PM PST by jecIIny
Greatmartyr Theodore the Tyro ("the Recruit")
The Holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (Tyro) was a soldier in the city of Alasium of the Pontine district (northeast province of Asia Minor, stretching along the coast of the Euxine, i.e. the Black Sea), under the command of a certain Brincus. They commanded him to offer sacrifice to idols. St Theodore firmly confessed his faith in Christ the Savior in a loud voice. The commander gave him several days to think it over, during which time St Theodore prayed.
They charged him with setting a pagan temple on fire, and threw him into prison to be starved to death. The Lord Jesus Christ appeared to him there, comforting and encouraging him. Brought to the governor, St Theodore boldly and fearlessly confessed his faith, for which he was subjected to new torments and condemned to burning. The martyr Theodore climbed onto the fire without hesitation, and with prayer and gave up his holy soul to God.
This occurred in about the year 306 under the Romanus emperor Galerius (305-311). Unharmed by the fire, the body of St Theodore was buried in the city of Euchaita, not far from Amasium. His relics were afterwards transferred to Constantinople, to a church dedicated to him. His head is in Italy, in the city of Gaeto.
Later on, fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the Christians, commanded the city-commander of Constantinople during the first week of Great Lent to sprinkle all the food provisions in the marketplaces with the blood offered to idols. St Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva).
In memory of this occurrence, the Orthodox Church annually celebrates the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit on the first Saturday of Great Lent. On Friday evening, at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts following the prayer at the ambo, the Canon to the holy Great Martyr Theodore, composed by St John of Damascus, is sung. After this, kolyva is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration of the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople (381-397).
The Troparion to St Theodore is quite similar to the Troparion for the Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths (December 17, Sunday Before Nativity). The Kontakion to St Theodore, who suffered martyrdom by fire, reminds us that he also had faith as his breastplate (see I Thessalonians 5:8).
We pray to St Theodore for the recovery of stolen articles.
Troparion - Tone 2
Great are the accomplishments of faith,
For the Holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced in the flames as though at the waters of rest,
Offering himself as sweet bread to the Trinity.
So by his prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!
Kontakion - Tone 8
Your faith in Christ was like a breastplate upon your heart:
With its aid, you overcame the power of the enemy.
Therefore you are crowned in eternity with a heavenly diadem.
Also commemorated on this date:
Hieromartyr Hermogenes the Patriarch of Moscow and Wonderworker of All Russia
The Hieromartyr Hermogenes, Patriarch of Moscow and all Rus, was born in Kazan around 1530), and was descended from the Don Cossacks. According to the Patriarch's own testimony, he served as priest in Kazan in a church dedicated to St Nicholas (December 6 and May 9), near the Kazan bazaar. Soon he became a monk, and from 1582 was archimandrite of the Savior-Transfiguration monastery at Kazan. On May 13, 1589 he was consecrated bishop and became the first Metropolitan of Kazan.
While he was the priest at St Nicholas, the wonderworking Kazan Icon of the Mother of God (July 8) was discovered in Kazan in 1579. With the blessing of Archbishop Jeremiah of Kazan, he carried the newly-appeared icon from the place of its discovery to the Church of St Nicholas. Having remarkable literary talent, the saint in 1594 compiled an account describing the appearance of the wonderworking icon and the miracles accomplished through it. In 1591 the saint gathered newly-baptized Tatars into the cathedral church and for several days he instructed them in the Faith.
The relics of St Germanus, the second archbishop of Kazan (September 25, November 6, and June 23), who died at Moscow on November 6, 1567 during a plague, were transfered and buried in St Nicholas Church in 1592. With the blessing of Patriarch Job (1589-1605), St Hermogenes reburied the relics at the Sviyazhsk Dormition monastery.
On January 9, 1592 St Hermogenes addressed a letter to Patriarch Job, in which he asked for permission to commemorate in his See of Kazan those Orthodox soldiers who gave their lives for the Faith and the nation in a battle against the Tatars. In the past, it was customary to enter into the diptychs the names of all Orthodox warriors who had fallen in battle, and to commemorate them.
At the same time he mentioned three martyrs who had suffered at Kazan for their faith in Christ, one of whom was a Russian named John (January 24) born at Nizhny Novgorod and captured by the Tatars. The other two, Stephen and Peter (March 24), were newly-converted Tatars.
The saint expressed regret that these martyrs were not inserted into the diptychs read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy, and that "Memory Eternal" was not sung for them. In answer to St Hermogenes, the Patriarch issued a decree on February 25, which said: " to celebrate at Kazan and throughout all the Kazan metropolitanate a panikhida for all the Orthodox soldiers killed at Kazan and the environs of Kazan, on the Saturday following the Feast of the Protection of the Most Holy Theotokos (October 1), and to inscribe them in the great Synodikon read on the Sunday of Orthodoxy," and also ordered that the three Kazan martyrs be inscribed in the Synodikon, leaving it to St Hermogenes to set the day of their memory. St Hermogenes circulated the Patriarchal decree throughout his diocese, and required all the churches and monasteries to serve Liturgies, Panikhidas and Lityas for the three Kazan martyrs on January 24.
St Hermogenes displayed zeal in the faith and firmness in the observance of Church traditions, and he devoted himself to the enlightenment of Kazan Tatars with the faith of Christ.
In 1595, with the active participation of the St Hermogenes, the relics of the Kazan Wonderworkers St Gurias, the first archbishop of Kazan (October 4, December 5, June 20), and St Barsanuphius bishop of Tver (October 4, April 11) were discovered and uncovered. Tsar Theodore Ioannovich (1584-1598) had given orders to erect at the Kazan Savior-Transfiguration monastery a new stone church on the site of the first one, where the saints were buried.
When the graves of the saints were discovered, St Hermogenes came with a gathering of clergy. He commanded the graves to be opened and, when he saw the incorrupt relics and clothing of the saints, he notified the Patriarch and the Tsar. With the blessing of Patriarch Job and by order of the Tsar, the relics of the newly-appeared wonderworkers were placed in the new church. St Hermogenes himself compiled the lives of hierarchs Gurias and Barsanuphius.
Having been found worthy of the patriarchal throne, Metropolitan Hermogenes was elected to the primatial See, and on July 3, 1606 he was installed as Patriarch by the assembly of the holy hierarchs at Moscow's Dormition cathedral. Metropolitan Isidore handed the Patriarch the staff of the holy hierarch Peter, Moscow Wonderworker (October 5, December 21, August 24), and the Tsar gave as a gift to the new Patriarch a panagia, embellished with precious stones, a white klobuk and staff. In the ancient manner, Patriarch Hermogenes made his entrance riding upon a donkey.
The activity of Patriarch Hermogenes coincided with a difficult period for the Russian state: the appearance of the false Tsarevich Demetrius and the Polish king Sigismund III. The first hierarch devoted all his powers to the service of the Church and the nation.
Patriarch Hermogenes was not alone in this exploit: his self-sacrificing fellow-countrymen followed his example and assisted him. With special inspiration His Holiness the Patriarch stood up against the traitors and enemies of the nation, who wanted to spread Uniatism and Western Catholicism throughout Russia and to wipe out Orthodoxy, while enslaving the Russian nation.
When the imposter arrived at Moscow and settled himself at Tushino, Patriarch Hermogenes sent two letters to the Russian traitors. In one of them he wrote: "...You have forgotten the vows of our Orthodox Faith, in which we are born, baptized, nourished and raised. You have violated your oath and the kissing of the Cross to stand to the death for the house of the Most Holy Theotokos and for the Moscow realm, but have fallen for your false would-be Tsarevich ... My soul aches, my heart is sickened, all within me agonizes, and all my frame shudders; I weep and with sobbing I lament: Have mercy, have mercy, brethren and children, on your own souls and your parents departed and living ... Consider, how our nation is devastated and plundered by foreigners, who offer insult to the holy icons and churches, and how innocent blood is spilled, crying out to God. Think! Against whom do you take up arms: is it not against God, Who has created you? Is it not against your own brothers? Do you not devastate your own country?... I adjure you in the name of God, give up your undertaking, there is yet time, so that you do not perish in the end." In the second document the saint appeals: "For the sake of God, come to your senses and turn around, gladden your parents, your wives and children; and we stand to pray God for you..."
Soon the righteous judgment of God fell upon the "Brigand of Tushino: he was killed by his own close associates on December 11, 1610. But Moscow continued to remain in peril, since the Poles and traitors, loyal to Sigismund III remained in the city. The documents sent by Patriarch Hermogenes throughout the cities and villages, exhorted the Russian nation to liberate Moscow from the enemies and to choose a lawful Russian Tsar.
The Muscovites rose up in rebellion, and the Poles burned the city, shutting themselves up in the Kremlin. Together with Russian traitors they forcefully seized Patriarch Hermogenes from the patriarchal throne and imprisoned him in the Chudov monastery.
On Bright Monday in 1611, the Russian militia approached Moscow and began the seige of the Kremlin, which continued for several months. Besieged within the Kremlin, the Poles often sent messengers to the Patriarch with the demand that he order the Russian militia to leave the city, threatening him with execution if he refused.
The saint firmly replied, "What are your threats to me? I fear only God. If all our enemies leave Moscow, I shall bless the Russian militia to withdraw from Moscow; but if you remain here, I shall bless all to stand against you and to die for the Orthodox Faith."
While still in prison, the hieromartyr Hermogenes sent a final epistle to the Russian nation, blessing the liberating army to fight the invaders. The Russian commanders could not come to an agreement over a way to take the Kremlin and free the Patriarch. He languished more than nine months in dreadful confinement, and on February 17, 1612 he died a martyr's death from starvation.
The liberation of Russia, for which St Hermogenes stood with such indestructible valor, was successfully achieved. The body of the hieromartyr Hermogenes was buried in the Chudov monastery, but in 1654 was transferred to the Moscow Dormition cathedral. The glorification of Patriarch Hermogenes as a saint occurred on May 12, 1913.
Venerable Theodore the Silent of the Kiev Caves
Saint Theodore the Silent of the Caves chose the exploit of silence, in order to dwell constantly in remembrance of God, and to safeguard himself from temptation even by a word. He was glorified by the Lord with the gift of wonderworking. His memory is celebrated also on August 28.
St Mariamne the sister of the Apostle Philip
Righteous Mariamne "The Apostolic Virgin" and sister of the holy Apostle Philip (November 14), made a vow of virginity and became the companion of her brother Philip and the holy Apostle Bartholomew (June 11), actively assisting them in their apostolic work.
The Church historian Nicephorus Callistus describes their successful preaching in the Phrygian city of Hieropolis, where they were arrested and locked up in prison. They put the Apostle Philip to death on a cross, but St Mariamne and St Bartholomew were set free. St Bartholomew went to preach the Gospel in India. St Mariamne, after burying the body of St Philip, preached the Gospel at Lykaonia (Asia Minor). She died there in peace.
Uncovering of the relics of the Martyr Menas of Alexandria
The Holy Martyr Menas Kallikelados (Well Speaking), an Athenian, died as a martyr with Sts Hermogenes and Eugraphus in about the year 313 (December 10). During the reign of Emperor Basil the Macedonian (867-886), the military commander Marcian discovered the saint's relics after St Menas appeared to a certain pious man in a dream to reveal where they were.
Icon of the Mother of God Weeping "Tikhvin" on Mt Athos
The Weeping Tikhvin Icon of Mt. Athos is to be found behind the altar in the Prophet Elias Skete. On February 17, 1877 (Thursday of the Second Week of Lent) seven monks remained in the church after the Hours had been read. They were astonished to see tears flowing from the right eye of the icon, and collecting on the frame. Then a single large tear came from the left eye.
The monks wiped the tears from the icon's face, then left the church and locked the doors behind them. Three hours later, they returned for Vespers and saw traces of tears on the icon, and a single tear in the left eye. Again they wiped the tears from the icon, but they did not reappear.
Regarding this manifestation of tears as a sign of mercy from the Mother of God, the monks established an annual commemoration of the icon on February 17. The weeping Tikhvin Icon of Mt. Athos is not to be confused with the original wonderworking Tikhvin Icon (June 26).
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