The Nun Theodora of Caesarea

Commemorated on December 30

      The Nun Theodora of Caesarea, living during the VIII Century, was the daughter of the patrician Theophilos and his wife Theodora. Her parents for a long time had been childless, and grieved over this. They prayed much and made a vow, that if a child were born to them, it would be dedicated to God. When the daughter born to them was of age, her mother took her to the monastery of Saint Anna, where the maiden entered under the guidance of an hegumeness. And there she learned the Word of God.
      The emperor Leo the Isaurian (716-741), an iconoclast heretic, wanted to give the maiden Theodora into marriage to one of his aides. Against her will they took her from the monastery and brought her to Constantinople, where everything was already prepared for the wedding celebration. But at the time of the wedding feast there occurred an attack by the Skyths against the capital, and the spouse of Saint Theodora, dispatched to help beat back the attack of the enemy, perished in the very first skirmish. Taking advantage of the general confusion, Saint Theodora made herself inconspicuous, got on a ship and returned to her convent. When an imperial emissary showed up there for her, he saw that she was already tonsured a monastic, dressed in sackcloth. They thus could no longer force the saint to leave the women's monastery, and she spent the remaining years of her life in deeds of vigil, fasting and prayer. Upon her body she wore heavy iron chains, not removing them until death.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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