Theodora of Arta

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The holy and right-believing Empress '''Theodora of Arta''' and all Epiros was the wife of Michael II Komnenos Doukas, who reigned 1231-1267/68. She is commemorated by the Church on [[March 11]].
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The holy and right-believing Empress '''Theodora of Arta''' was the wife of [[Wikipedia:Michael II Komnenos Doukas|Michael II Komnenos Doukas]] who was the ruler (Emperor) of Epiros in the thirteenth century, during the time of Latin rule of Constantinople. She endured suffering from abuse by her husband, being forced into exile without complaint, and maintained a life of humility, asceticism, and charity. She is commemorated by the Church on [[March 11]].
  
 
==Life==
 
==Life==
There is no doubt that Theodora is as much a historical figure as she is a [[saint]] of the church. It is estimated that Theodora was born ca. 1225 as '''Theodora Dukaina Petraliphaina'''. She married Michael II Komnenos Dukas Notho Angelos shortly after he became ruler of Epiros ca. 1231 (about the age of 6) and through this marriage they had six children, including Anna (Agnes) Komnenodukaina, Lady of Kalamata and Clermont, who married Prince Guillaume II de Villehardouin of Achaea and then Nicholas II of Saint-Omer, Lord of Achaia.
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What is known of the life of Theodora is from a ''vita'' contained in a fifteenth or sixteenth century manuscript attributed to a monk named Job. In view of the many errors of chronology and genealogy in the ''vita'', as well as its style, the attribution of the ''vita'' to a Job Iasites has been questions.
  
She entered [[monasticism]] after being widowed ca. 1267/8, similarly to St. [[Athanasia of Aegina]] and St. [[Theodora of Thessalonica|Theodora of Thessalonike]]. Like St. [[Matrona of Chios]], [[Thomais of Lesbos]] and St. [[Mary the Younger]], she suffered abuse at the hands of her husband.
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Theodora was the daughter of John and Helena Petraliphas. John Petraliphas was a ''sebastokrator'' and ruler of Macedonia and Thessaly. Theodora is thought to have been born about 1225 as '''Theodora Dukaina Petraliphaina'''. She married Michael II Komnenos Doukas Notho Angelos shortly after he became ruler of Epiros about 1231 (at a very young age that is illegal by our standards and possibly even the Byzantium standards). Through this marriage they had six children, including Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas, Anna (Agnes) Komnenodukaina, Lady of Kalamata and Clermont, who married Prince Guillaume II de Villehardouin of Achaea and then Nicholas II of Saint-Omer, Lord of Achaia.  
  
She founded a convent in Arta and her attributes are described by her [[iconographer]] as [[ascetic]]al and charitable.
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She was noted to be a person who was not carried away with her new position as empress nor of her luxurious life. Early is their marriage, Michael II became enamored by a noblewoman, causing Michael to reject Theodora. She was banished under a decree that she was not to be supported. She existed in exile by living “off the land” in the open for five year, nobly enduring her life without complaint. During her exile she maintained her virtue, all though reduced to picking wild greens for food and while caring for her son whom she bore in exile. A priest from the village of Preniste found her while she was collecting wild greens, and after getting her to identify herself, he took took her, with her son, under his care and concealed her until court officials drove the wicked noblewoman out and returned Michael to his senses.
  
Theodora foreknew the time of her death, and her tomb attracted popular [[veneration]] soon after her death and continues to do so to this day.
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Michael, then, took Theodora back into his house. Until Michael died, the couple lived virtuously in peace and love, raising their family of children. Michael established two monasteries, Pantanassa and Panagia, while Theodora founded a women’s monastery dedicated to the great martyr George, that later was named for St. Theodora.
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After the death of her husband, about 1267 or 1268, Theodora entered monasticism and lived a pious life of praying, attending vigils, serving orphans and widows, and the other nuns. She is closely associated with Ss [[Athanasia of Aegina]] and [[Theodora of Thessalonike]], as well as Ss [[Matrona of Chios]], [[Thomais of Lesbos]], and [[Mary the Younger]] who like her suffered abuse at the hands of their husbands.
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Theodora foresaw the time of her death and her tomb attracted popular veneration soon after her death and continues to do so to this present day.
  
 
==See also==
 
==See also==
*[[Metropolis of Arta]]
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*[[Metropolis of Arta]].
  
 
==Sources==
 
==Sources==

Revision as of 17:11, March 18, 2008

The holy and right-believing Empress Theodora of Arta was the wife of Michael II Komnenos Doukas who was the ruler (Emperor) of Epiros in the thirteenth century, during the time of Latin rule of Constantinople. She endured suffering from abuse by her husband, being forced into exile without complaint, and maintained a life of humility, asceticism, and charity. She is commemorated by the Church on March 11.

Contents

Life

What is known of the life of Theodora is from a vita contained in a fifteenth or sixteenth century manuscript attributed to a monk named Job. In view of the many errors of chronology and genealogy in the vita, as well as its style, the attribution of the vita to a Job Iasites has been questions.

Theodora was the daughter of John and Helena Petraliphas. John Petraliphas was a sebastokrator and ruler of Macedonia and Thessaly. Theodora is thought to have been born about 1225 as Theodora Dukaina Petraliphaina. She married Michael II Komnenos Doukas Notho Angelos shortly after he became ruler of Epiros about 1231 (at a very young age that is illegal by our standards and possibly even the Byzantium standards). Through this marriage they had six children, including Nikephoros I Komnenos Doukas, Anna (Agnes) Komnenodukaina, Lady of Kalamata and Clermont, who married Prince Guillaume II de Villehardouin of Achaea and then Nicholas II of Saint-Omer, Lord of Achaia.

She was noted to be a person who was not carried away with her new position as empress nor of her luxurious life. Early is their marriage, Michael II became enamored by a noblewoman, causing Michael to reject Theodora. She was banished under a decree that she was not to be supported. She existed in exile by living “off the land” in the open for five year, nobly enduring her life without complaint. During her exile she maintained her virtue, all though reduced to picking wild greens for food and while caring for her son whom she bore in exile. A priest from the village of Preniste found her while she was collecting wild greens, and after getting her to identify herself, he took took her, with her son, under his care and concealed her until court officials drove the wicked noblewoman out and returned Michael to his senses.

Michael, then, took Theodora back into his house. Until Michael died, the couple lived virtuously in peace and love, raising their family of children. Michael established two monasteries, Pantanassa and Panagia, while Theodora founded a women’s monastery dedicated to the great martyr George, that later was named for St. Theodora.

After the death of her husband, about 1267 or 1268, Theodora entered monasticism and lived a pious life of praying, attending vigils, serving orphans and widows, and the other nuns. She is closely associated with Ss Athanasia of Aegina and Theodora of Thessalonike, as well as Ss Matrona of Chios, Thomais of Lesbos, and Mary the Younger who like her suffered abuse at the hands of their husbands.

Theodora foresaw the time of her death and her tomb attracted popular veneration soon after her death and continues to do so to this present day.

See also

Sources

External link

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