Theodore the Sykeote
Our father among the Saints Theodore the Sykeote, Bishop of Anastasiopolis, lived during the sixth century and lived his life in seclusion from his days as a youth, enduring many struggles in the name of the Lord. The Orthodox Church venerated St Theodore as a saint, even while he was still alive. Saint Theodore reposed in the year 613. He is commemorated by the Church on April 22.
Life of the Saint
Saint Theodore was born in the village of Sykeon. While in his mother's womb, his mother received a vision that her son would receive the grace of God. She wanted him to become a soldier, and even presented him with a golden belt at age six which signified her desire, but the Holy Great-martyr George the Trophy-bearer. instructed her to let her son grow and serve God.
As a schoolchild, St. Theodore was a very diligent student and never indulged in an argument with his peers. He began imitating Elder Stephen, who lived in his house, at the age of eight. The saint only ate a small portion of bread for dinner during Great Lent at his mother's discretion.
At the age of ten the boy was very sick – even to the point of death. His family brought him to the church of Saint John the Baptist, where two drops of water fell from an image of Jesus Christ that was on the dome of the church. These droplets healed the young saint. Soon after this incident, the saint found comfort and solitude in the church of the Great Martyr George during the night, again at his mother's discretion. The young saint was so diligent in his piety that his family began imitating some of his habits.
St. Theodore intensified his struggles at the age of twelve after Christ told him in a dream that his struggles would lead to great eternal joy in the Kingdom of Heaven.
The young saint was able to perform many great works through the powers of God. He was able to pray to the Lord and bring rain to a desert region suffering from a drought. St. Theodore also moved away from his parents and lived near the church of the Great Martyr George to follow strict, pious habits at the age of fourteen in solitude. He was granted the gift of healing during this time and was even able to cure a demon-possessed youth.
He showed his love toward God by living in a cave for two years, surviving off of bread and water delivered to him by a deacon, and breathing through a small hole. The saint almost died while living in the cave, but he was able to recover after a couple days after being taken out of it.
Upon returning to his hometown, the saint continued to live near the church of St. George. While living there, he healed others from sickness, preached the Word of God, and became surrounded by monks yearning to learn his wisdom and monastic habit. The saint was also able to convince his family to enter the monastic life.
His Continued Struggles
Saint Theodore only continued to intensify his struggles as he grew older. From the time between Holy Pascha until the Nativity of Christ, the saint lived in a steel cage while being brought down by heavy weights. He secluded himself in a cave from the Baptism of the Lord until Pascha, only coming out of his struggles and seclusion on Saturdays and Sundays to preach the Word of God.
He was so diligent in his struggles that wild animals would eat from his hands. The saint also healed many people from leprosy, demonic possession, and from pestilences.
So many monks congregated around the saint that he had to build a large church to accommodate them. Around this time, the bishop of the nearby city of Anastasiopolis died. The citizens of the city requested that St. Theodore be their new bishop. Although the saint worked in order to improve the welfare of the Church as the bishop of Anastasiopolis, he did not enjoy the attention he received and desired to return to his secluded life. St. Theodore was granted leave of his duties as bishop in order to return and perform services back in his own monastery.
When the saint performed liturgy, he was able to make a purple aura form around the Eucharist while celebrating due to his holiness. The Body of Christ was noted of rising from the chalice on one occasion.
St. Theodore also prophesied that the Orthodox Church would struggle through the Iconoclast heretic movement. After revealing this to Patriarch Thomas, the holy Patriarch begged St. Theodore to pray that he would soon die, so that he would not witness the coming woe. Patriarch Thomas reposed in 610 with the saint's prayers, and St. Theodore also passed on to the Lord soon after.
- You were known to be sanctified from your earliest infancy.
- You were revealed to be filled with grace.
- You enlightened the world with miracles
- And drove away a multitude of demons, holy hierarch Theodore.
- Therefore, pray to the Lord for us.
Kontakion - Tone 3
- Mounting upon the virtues as upon a fiery chariot,
- You ascended to the heavenly mansions, God-bearing Theodore.
- You lived with men like an angel,
- And as a man you joined the angelic choir.
- Therefore, Venerable Father, you have been shown to be a divine vessel of miracles.