The Holy Martyress Theodotia

Commemorated on September 17

      The Holy Martyress Theodotia, a native of Cappadocia, suffered in the city of Nicea during the reign of the emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). At this time the governor of Cappadocia was a certain fellow named Symblicius. They reported to him, that a rich woman named Theodotia was confessing Christ. The governor summoned Theodotia and for a long time urged her to recant from the true faith. Seeing the uselessness of his attempts, he gave Theodotia over to torture: they suspended her and began to tear at her with iron hooks, but she as it were did not sense any suffering. Then they put her in chains and led her away to a prison cell. After 8 days, when they led the saint out for new tortures, there remained on her on faint traces of the tortures already endured. The governor was amazed and asked her: "Who art thou?" The saint answered: "Thine mind is darkened, but if thou were sober, thou would then have recognised, that I am Theodotia". Symblicius commanded the martyress to be cast into a red-hot furnace. Flames shot out from the furnace and scorched those standing nearby, while those remaining unharmed shut the furnace and scattered in fright. After a certain while pagan priests came and opened the furnace so as to scatter the ashes of the martyress, but they too were burned by the flames; those remaining unhurt saw Saint Theodotia unharmed: she stood amidst the flames betwixt two youths in white raiment and was glorifying the Lord. This apparition so terrified the pagans, that they fell down as though dead. Later they again returned the saint to prison.
      The invincibility of the martyress gave Symblicius no peace. Having made a journey to Byzantium, on the return trip he stopped over at Ancyra and tried to get the better of Theodotia. He gave orders to throw her all at once onto red-hot iron, but again the martyress remained unharmed. Then Symblicius gave orders that the saint be taken to Nicea. There, in a pagan temple he wanted by force to compel her to offer sacrifice to the idols, but through the prayer of the saint the idols fell and were shattered. The governor in a rage gave orders to stretch the martyress and saw her through, but here also the power of God preserved the saint: the saw caused Theodotia no harm, and the servants became exhausted. Finally, they beheaded the saint. The bishop of Nicea Sophronios buried her body.

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