Theodore the Commander and Great Martyr

February 8

There are martyrdoms that are beyond any price. The preciousness of martyrdom depends upon the greatness of the good things which a Christian abandons, and in lieu of which he accepts suffering. In addition, it depends upon the greatness of the suffering that he endures for Christ’s sake. St. Theodore, a Roman commander in the army of Emperor Licinius and the governor of the town of Heraclea, scorned his youth, his handsome appearance, his military rank and the good graces of the emperor. In place of all this, he accepted horrible tortures for the sake of Christ. At first, Theodore was flogged and received six hundred lashes on his back and five hundred on his stomach. After this, he was raised on a cross and was completely pierced with lances. Finally, Theodore was beheaded. Why all of this? Because St. Theodore loved Christ the Lord above all else in the world. He abhorred the foolish idolatry of the superstitious Emperor Licinius. He smashed the idols of silver and gold and distributed pieces of them to the poor. He converted many to the Christian Faith and called upon Emperor Licinius himself to reject idolatry and believe in the One Living God. During the entire time of his tortures, St. Theodore said repeatedly: “Glory to Thee, my God, glory to Thee!” St. Theodore suffered on February 8, 319, at three o’clock in the afternoon, and entered into the Kingdom of Christ. St. Theodore is considered the protector of soldiers who call upon him for assistance. His miracle-working relics were translated from Euchaita to Constantinople and interred in the Blachernae Church.

Source: St. Nikolai Velimirovic, The Prologue of Ohrid – Volume One.

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