Commemorated on April 22
The Monk Theodore
Sikeotes was born in the mid VI Century in the village of Sikea, not far
from the city of Anastasiupolis (Asia Minor), in a pious family. When his
mother Maria conceived the saint, she had in a dream a vision, that a bright
star had overshadowed her womb. A perspicacious elder, to whom she turned, then
explained that this was the grace of God overshadowing the infant conceived in
When the boy reached
six years of age, his mother presented him a golden sash, since she intended
that her son should become a soldier. But in a dream vision by night there
appeared to her the GreatMartyr George (Comm. 23 April), and he bid her not
think about military service for her son, since the boy was destined to serve
God. The saint's father, Kosma, had served as a messenger of the emperor
Justinian the Great (527-565), and he died early. The boy remained in the care
of his mother, with whom lived also his grandmother Epidia, his aunt Dispenia
and his little sister Vlatta.
In school, Saint
Theodore displayed great talents for his study, chief of which was an
unchildlike 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 amongst
them. At his mother's house lived also the pious elder, Stephen. Imitating him,
Saint Theodore at age 8 began during Great Lent to eat only a small morsel of
bread in the evenings. In order that his mother should not force him to take
supper with everyone, the boy returned home from school only towards
evening-time, after he had communed the Holy Mysteries together with the elder
Stephen. At the request of his mother, the teacher began to send him off to
supper at the end of lessons. But Saint Theodore nonetheless skipped off to the
church of the GreatMartyr George, where the patron saint of the temple appeared
to him in the form of a youth and ushered him into the church.
When Saint Theodore
reached age 10, he fell deathly ill. They brought him to the church of Saint
John the Baptist and placed him in front of the altar. The boy was healed by
two drops of dew, fallen from the face of the Saviour on the dome of the
temple. At this time by night the GreatMartyr George began appearing to the
boy, and also leading him off to his own temple to pray until morning. His
mother, fearing the night-time dangers of the forest path, spoke with her son
about not going at night. One time, when the boy had already gone, she angrily
went after him to the church, and she dragged him out by the hair and tied him
to his bed. But that very night in a dream vision the GreatMartyr George
appeared to her, and threateningly she commanded her not to hinder the lad from
going to church. And both Elpidia and Dispenia had the same vision. The women
then became persuaded of the special vocation of Saint Theodore and they no
more hindered him from his efforts, and even his little sister Vlatta began to
At twelve years of
age the saint was granted in a vivid dream to behold Christ on the Throne of
the Kingdom of Glory, and Who said to him: "Asceticise, Theodore, so as to
obtain perfected reward in the Heavenly Kingdom".
From that time Saint
Theodore began to toil all the more fervently. Both the First Week and the
Cross-Veneration Week of Great Lent he spent in complete silence.
The devil thought
upon how to destroy him. He appeared to the saintly lad in the form of his
class-mate Gerontios, and urged him to jump off a precipice, and even showed
him in what manner how to. But his protector the GreatMartyr George saved the
One time the boy set
off for a blessing to the wilderness elder Glykerios. During this time there
was a terrible drought throughout all the land, and the elder said:
"Child, on bended knee let us pray to the Lord, that He send rain. And in
such manner shalt we learn, whether our prayers be pleasing to the Lord".
The old man and the boy, on bended knee, began to pray – and immediately it
began to rain. Then the elder said to Saint Theodore, that upon him was the
grace of God, and he blessed him to become a monk, when the time should come.
At fourteen years of
age Saint Theodore left home and lived nearby the church of the GreatMartyr
George. His mother brought him food, but Saint Theodore left everything on the
stones by the church, and he ate over the course of a day only a single prosphora
loaf of bread. And even at so young an age, the Monk Theodore was granted the
gift of healing: through his prayer a demon-possessed youth was restored to
The Monk Theodore
then fled human glory and he withdrew into complete solitude. Under a large
boulder not far from the church of the GreatMartyr George, he dug out a cave
and persuaded a certain deacon to cover over the entrance with ground, 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 the
Monk Theodore lived in this seclusion and complete quiet. His kinsfolk bewept
the saint and they thought, that he had been devoured by wild beasts.
But the deacon
finally revealed the secret, since he was afraid that the Monk Theodore would
perish in the narrow cave, and moreover he pitied the weeping mother. They
plucked the Monk Theodore out of the cave half-alive.
The mother wanted to
take her son home and restore him back to health, but the saint remained nearby
the church of the GreatMartyr George, and after several days he was completely
News about the
exploits of the youth reached the local bishop Theodosios. And thus in the church
of the GreatMartyr George he was ordained to the dignity of deacon, and later
– to priest, although the monk was only 17 years of age.
After a certain while
the Monk Theodore set off for veneration to the holy places in Jerusalem, and
there at the Khozebite Laura near Jordan, he accepted monasticism.
When he returned to
his native land, he again continued to live nearby the church of the
GreatMartyr George. His grandmother Elpidia, his sister Vlatta and his mother
on the advice of the monk withdrew to a monastery, and his aunt died in a good
The ascetic life of
the young priestmonk attracted to him people seeking salvation. The monk
tonsured into monasticism the youth Epiphanios, and later on a pious woman,
healed of sickness by the saint, brought him her son Philumenos. Then came also
the virtuous youth John. Brethren thus gradually gathered around the monk.
The Monk Theodore
continued to bear his burdensome exploits. At his request a blacksmith made for
him an iron cage without a roof, and so tight that in it, it was possible only
to stand. In this cage in heavy chains the monk stood 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 the making of
Divine-services on Saturdays and Sundays. Throughout the whole of the Forty-Day
Great Lent the saint ate only greens, and on Saturdays and Sundays spring-grain
Asceticising 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 prayer of the monk,
those afflicted with leprosy were healed, and from whole districts devils were
cast out. In the nearby village of Magatia, when locusts threatening the crops
appeared, its people turned with a request for help to the Monk Theodore. He
sent them off to church. After Divine Liturgy, which he served, the villagers
returned home and learned that during this while all the locusts had died.
When the military-commander
Maurice was returning to Constantinople by way of Galatia after a Persian war,
the monk predicted to him, that he would become emperor. The prediction came
true, and the emperor Maurice (582-602) fulfilled the request of the monk – he
sent the monastery bread each year for the multitude of people being fed there.
The small temple of
the GreatMartyr George could not accommodate all those that wanted to pray in
it. Then through the efforts of the saint a beautiful new church was built.
During this while the Anastasiupolis bishop happened to die. The people of the
city besought the Ancyra metropolitan Paul to install the Monk Theodore as
So that the saint
should not resist, the messengers of the metropolitan and the Anastasiupolis
people dragged him out of his cell by force and carried him off to the city.
Having become bishop,
Saint Theodore toiled much for the welfare of the Church. But his soul yearned
for the solitary communion with God. After several years he set off to venerate
at the holy places in Jerusalem. And there, concealing his identity, he settled
at the Laura monastery of the Monk Sava, where he lived in solitude from the
Nativity of Christ until Pascha. Then the GreatMartyr George led him to return
Secret enemies tried
to poison the saint, but the Mother of God gave him three small pieces of
grain. The saint them and remained unharmed. Saint Theodore felt weighed down
with the burden of being a bishop and he besought the Constantinople patriarch
Kyriakos (595-606) for a release to return to his own monastery and celebrate
The sanctity of the
monk was so evident, that during the time of his celebrating the Eucharist, the
grace of the Holy Spirit, in a visage of radiant porphyry, overshadowed the
Holy Gifts. One time, when the monk lifted the discus with the Divine Lamb and
proclaimed "Holy Things unto the Holy", – the Divine Lamb raised
itself up into the air, and then resettled itself again upon the discus.
All the Orthodox Church
venerated the Monk Theodore as a saint, even while he was yet alive.
In one of the cities
of Galatia, a terrible event occurred: during the time of a church procession
the wooden crosses being carried began of themselves to strike and chip at one
another, with the result that the Constantinople Patriarch Thomas (607-610, Comm.
21 March) summoned to him the Monk Theodore, asking of him the secret of this
terrible portent. Having the gift of foresight, the Monk Theodore explained,
that this was a sign of coming misfortunes for the Church of God (he was thus
prophetically indicating the future heresy of the Iconoclasts). In grief the
holy Patriarch Thomas besought the monk to pray for him for a quick death, so
that he should not see the coming woe.
In the year 610 the
holy Patriarch Thomas reposed, having besought blessing of the Monk Theodore.
And in the year 613 the Monk Theodore Sikeotes also expired to the Lord.
© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.