The Holy Martyrs Theodore, his mother Philippia, Dioskoros, Sokrates and Dionysios

Commemorated on April 21

      The Holy Martyrs Theodore, his mother Philippia, Dioskoros, Sokrates and Dionysios suffered during the reign of the emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161) in Pamphylian Pergium. When they were conscripting for military service robust and healthy young men, then together with the others they led the youth Theodore to the military commander Theodotos.
      The military commander obliged the youth to offer sacrifice to idols. The martyr submitted neither to persuasion nor threats, and the military commander commanded to place him on a red-hot plate and to pour out liquid tar. Immediately there occurred a miracle: an earth-trembling began, and from a fissure in the ground gushed forth a torrent of water and extinguished the fire.
      Having remained unharmed, the martyr Theodore gave praise to God and suggested to the military commander to try with the help of the idols to repeat such a miracle.
      The military commander suggested to the pagan priest Dioskoros to lay upon the red-hot plate, calling on the help of Zeus. But Saint Dioskoros answered, that he believed in Christ and was prepared to throw the idol of Zeus into the fire. Then the military commander commanded him to get on the frying-pan. The martyr Dioskoros fell at the knees of Saint Theodore and pleaded that he pray for him. Then he got onto the frying-pan, loudly crying out to the Lord: "I give Thee thanks, Lord Jesus Christ, that Thou hast included me in the number of Thine servants. Accept Thou my soul with peace", – and he died, having been delivered from terrible torment.
      They continued to torture Saint Theodore. They tied him to wild horses, which began to run. But at the city walls the horses fell down and collapsed, and the martyr Theodore remained unharmed. Two soldiers, Sokrates and Dionysios, saw how there came down from the heavens a fiery chariot to Saint Theodore, on which was carried the dragged martyr. The soldiers with astonishment shouted out: "Great God of the Christians!" For this they seized hold of them and on the next day threw them together with the martyr Theodore into a red-hot furnace. But an Heavenly dew cooled the furnace, and the saints remained alive. In the morning the military commander commanded soldiers to go march to look upon the burnt bodies of the martyrs. The soldiers returned and with wonder reported that the three youths were unharmed, and to the martyr Theodore was come his mother, Philippia, who now encouraged the martyrs in their act.
      The military commander suggested to Saint Philippia to save her son, urging her to offer sacrifice to the idols. But Saint Philippia answered, that yet while at the time of the birth of her son it was revealed to her, that her son would be crucified for Christ. Hearing this, the military commander commanded to crucify Saint Theodore on a cross, and to cut off the heads of the remaining martyrs. During the course of 3 days the martyr Theodore hung on the cross, offering up prayer to God until he expired.

© 1996-2001 by translator Fr. S. Janos.