Saint Theodorit

Commemorated on March 8

      Saint Theodorit was a presbyter and maintainer of vessels at the cathedral church in Antioch. This church was built and richly adorned by the emperor holy Equal-to-the-Apostles Constantine the Great (306-337, Comm. 21 May) and his son Constantius, and it was called among the people "the Golden church". Having occupied the throne after the death of the emperor Constantius (337-361), Julian the Apostate (361-363) decided to restore paganism throughout all the Roman empire. The emperor appointed his uncle, also named Julian, as governor of Antioch. He ordered him to close the Christian temples, and in seizing the valuables within them to hand it over to the imperial treasury. Wanting to please the emperor, the governor also an apostate from the Christian faith, set about his impious task with zeal. Arriving at Antioch with the dignitary Felix, he gave orders to lock up the presbyter Theodorit under guard, and he set about to his plundering, defiling the altar and the holy altar-table. One of those present, Euzoios, tried to admonish the impiety, and for this he was killed. Julian accused Theodorit of hiding the church valuables, but the venerable maintainer of vessels denied the accusation and openly denounced Julian for his apostasy.
      Despite beastly tortures, the holy martyr defended to the end his faith in Christ the Saviour, and predicted a speedy death to Julian and the emperor for their sacrilege.
      The soldiers, torturing the faithful presbyter, struck by his firmness and endurance and the strong power of the Word of God, were converted to faith in Christ, for which they were drowned in the sea.
      The holy confessor was himself beheaded. The mockery and sacrilege over sacred things did not go unpunished the predictions of Saint Theodorit soon occurred: the governor Julian died in agony from grievous illness, and the emperor Julian perished in a campaign against the Persians.

1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.

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