Removal of the Relics of Theodore the Commander
The holy Martyr Theodore was from Euchaita of Galatia and dwelt in Heraclea of Pontus. He was a renowned commander in the military, and the report came to the Emperor Licinius that he was a Christian and abominated the idols. Licinius therefore sent certain men to him from Nicomedia, to honor him and ask him to appear before him. Through them, however, Saint Theodore sent back a message that it was necessary for various reasons, that Licinius come to Heraclea. Licinius, seeing in this a hope of turning Saint Theodore away from Christ did as was asked of him.
When the Emperor came to Heraclea, Saint Theodore met him with honor, and the Emperor in turn gave Theodore his hand, believing that through him he would be able to draw the Christians to the worship of his idols. Seated upon his throne in the midst of the people, he publicly bade Theodore offer sacrifice to the gods. But Theodore asked that the emperor entrust him with the most venerable of his gods, those of gold and silver, that he might take them home and himself attend upon them that evening, promising that the following day he would honor them in public. The Emperor, filled with joy at these tidings, gave command that Theodore’s request be fulfilled.
When the Saint had taken the idols home, he broke them in pieces and distributed the gold and silver to the poor by night. The next day a centurion named Maxentius told Licinius that he had seen a pauper pass by carrying the head of Artemis. Saint Theodore, far from repenting of this, confessed Christ boldly. Licinius, in an uncontainable fury, had the Saint put to many torments, then crucified. While upon the cross, the holy Martyr was further tormented — his privy parts were cut off, he was shot with arrows, his eyes were put out, and he was left on the cross to die. The next day Licinius sent men to take his corpse and cast it into the sea; but they found the Saint alive and perfectly whole. Through this, many believed in Christ. Seeing his own men turning to Christ, and the city in an uproar, Licinius had Theodore beheaded, about the year 320. The Saint’s holy relics were returned to his ancestral home on June 8.
The Great Martyr Theodore is also commemorated on February 8.
Apolytikion of Relics of Theodore Stratelates in the Fourth Tone
In truth enlisted with the King of the Heavens, thou didst become for Him a noble commander, O trophy-bearer and Great Martyr Theodore. With the weaponry of faith didst thou arm thyself wisely and didst utterly destroy all the hordes of the demons, as a triumphant athlete of the Lord; wherefore we ever do faithfully call thee blest.
Kontakion of Relics of Theodore Stratelates in the Fourth Tone
As Christ the Saviour’s mighty athlete and victor, and a provider of the gifts come from Heaven, thou always swiftly helpest with thy prayers to God all those who seek refuge in thy divinely-graced temple and who flee with fervent faith to thy holy protection. Wherefore we cry to thee: Deliver us from every danger, O thrice-blessed Theodore.
Melania the Righteous
Saint Melania was a lady of noble birth, most wealthy and renowned, a descendant of Roman consuls, and of Spanish origin. When her husband and two of her children died, she departed for Egypt to visit the monks living at Mount Nitria. She distrubuted her wealth to those that were in need there, as well as to the confessors of the Faith who were being persecuted by the Arians. In three days alone, she fed some 5,000. Then, when these Orthodox Christians were exiled to Palestine, she also went to Jerusalem. There, at her own expense, she built a convent for virgins, and reposed therein in holiness about the year 410. Her granddaughter Melania the Younger is celebrated on December 31.
Apolytikion of Melania the Righteous in the Plagal of the First Tone
Scorning riches that perish and worldly dignity, thou soughtest heavenly glory through self-denial and toils, making noble rank more noble by humility; and thou didst build a holy house in Jerusalem, where thou didst guide souls unto salvation. And now, O Mother Melania, grant us the alms of thy rich prayers to God.
Kontakion of Melania the Righteous in the Fourth Tone
Thou didst use thine earthly wealth, O wise Melania, to console and help the poor; and with the riches of thy mind, thou leddest many of noble rank with joy to be poor in spirit for Jesus’ sake.
We Also Celebrate Today:
Kalliope the Martyr
Anastasios the New Martyr of Constantinople
Theophanes the New Martyr of Constantinople