The Monk Theodore the Confessor

Commemorated on December 27

      The Monk Theodore the Confessor, and his brother the Confessor Theophanes the Lettered-Upon, were born in Jerusalem of Christian parents. The elder was Theodore. From early childhood he shunned childish amusements and loved to visit church services. Together with his younger brother Theophanes (Comm. 11 October), he was sent for education to the presbyter at the Laura-monastery of Saint Sava. Both brothers accepted monasticism. Saint Theodore was raised to the dignity of presbyter.
      When the iconoclast emperor, Leo V the Armenian (813-820), expelled and replaced the pious ruler Michael I Rangabes (811-813), he began to patronise the Iconoclast heresy. The Patriarch of Jerusalem sent both brothers to Constantinople for the defense of Orthodoxy. Arriving in the Byzantine capital, the holy confessors boldly entered into the defense of Icon-Veneration. In a contest of words Leo was humiliated. He gave orders to beat both brothers mercilessly, and then had them sent off into exile, strictly forbidding anyone to help them in any way.
      Under the subsequent emperors, Michael II (820-829), and particularly under the harsh iconoclast Theophilos (829-842), both brothers returned from exile, and again they were urged to concur with the Iconoclast heresy, but they firmly and bravely endured all the tortures, and again they were sent off into exile. But later they again returned. This time they were subject to fierce torture, and finally, there was done upon them an unprecedented torment. With red-hot needles they marked branding upon their faces the writing as it were of their disgrace 12 poetic lines, in which it described the holy confessors as "vessels of superstitious errors". Hence the title ascribed to the holy brothers: "the Lettered-Upon" ("Nachertanni", "Graptoi"). Before torture the city official asked Saint Theodore to take communion with iconoclasts, for which they promised him freedom. But the holy martyr replied: "It is all the same, as they say: 'We shall only cut off thy head, and then go whither thou willest'". After torture the holy brothers were imprisoned in the locality of Apameia, where Saint Theodore died in about the year 840. Saint Theophanes survived the ending of the Iconoclast heresy, and died in the dignity of Bishop of Nicea. The Monk Theophanes was author of many compositions in defense of Orthodoxy. The relics of the MonkMartyr Theodore were transferred to Chalcedon, where healings were done by them.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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