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Theodora (wife of Justinian)

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[[Image:Theodora.jpg|right|frame|The Empress St. Theodora, wife Wife of [[Justinian the Great]]; Mosaic, 6th c., [[Church of San Vitale (Ravenna)|Cathedral of San Vitale]], Ravenna, Italy]]
The holy and right-believing '''Empress Theodora''' (''c''. 500-548) was empress of the [[Roman Empire]] and the wife of Emperor [[Justinian]] the Great. Along with her husband, she is a [[saint]] in the [[Orthodox Church]], commemorated on [[November 14]].
==Life==
There are two histories concerning the early life of Theodora. The best known account is the ''Secret History'' allegedly written by Procopius. Its authorship is questioned by most scholars because it was discovered in the Vatican three centuries after the empress's death and the style of the writing bears no resemblance to Procopius's other works. According to this account, Theodora was born into the lowest class of Byzantine society, the daughter of a bearkeeper for the circus. Much of the information from this earliest part of her life comes from the ''Secret History'' of Procopius, published posthumously. Critics of this Procopius—whose work reveals a man seriously disillusioned regarding his rulers and out to defame them—have dismissed his work dismiss it as pornographic vitriolic and western propagandapornograpic.
The second source was written It is believed by some scholars that sometime before meeting Justinian she became an adherent of [[BishopMonophysitism|Monophysite]] EusebiusChristianity, a contemporary of Theodora. Eusebius states that she which claims Christ was the daughter of a Roman senator who died during Theodora's early childhood. After her father's deathone nature, Theodora and remaining their partisan throughout her mother lived in Egypt, where her mother died soon afterlife. According to Eusebius, Theodora spent the remaining part of Others instead argue that her young life in an Egyptian association with [[monasteryMonophysitism]], which accounted for is largely because of Justinian's putting her sympathetic views in charge of courting the Monophysites' reunion with the [[MonophysitismFourth Ecumenical Council|Chalcedonian]]party in the Church, and so while remaining Chalcedonian herself, she was pastorally favorable toward the non-Chalcedonians.
It is believed by some scholars that sometime before meeting In 523 Theodora married Justinian she became an adherent of , the Monophysite Christianity''magister militum praesentalis'' in Constantinople. On his accession to the Roman Imperial throne in 527 as Justinian I, which claims [[Christ]] was he made her joint ruler of one naturethe empire, and remained their partisan throughout appears to have regarded her lifeas a full partner in their rulership. This proved to be a wise decision. Others instead argue that her association with Monophysitism is largely because A strong-willed woman, she showed a notable talent for governance. In the Nika riots of Justinian's putting 532, her in charge of courting advice and leadership for a strong (and militant) response caused the Monophysites' reunion with the [[Fourth Ecumenical Council|Chalcedonian]] party in the Church, riot to be quelled and so while remaining Chalcedonian herself, she was pastorally favorable toward probably saved the non-Chalcedoniansempire.
In 523 Some scholars believe that Theodora married Justinianwas Byzantium's first noted proponent—and, the ''magister militum praesentalis'' in Constantinople. On his ascension according to the Roman Imperial throne in 527 as Justinian IProcopius, he made her joint ruler practitioner—of abortion; she convinced Justinian to change the empire, and appears to have regarded her as a full partner in their rulership. This proved to be a wise decisionlaw that forbade noblemen from marrying lower class women (like herself). A strong-willed woman, she showed a notable talent They also claim that Theodora advocated for governance. In the Nika riots right of 532, her advice women to commit adultery and leadership for a strong (and militant) response caused the riot to be quelled socially serviced, helping to advance protections and probably saved the empire. She also helped to mitigate the breach in Christianity that loomed large over her time; she probably had a large part in Justinian's efforts to reconcile the Monophysites to orthodoxy"delights" for them.
According to Procopius, Other scholars (and those who venerate Theodora was as a [[Byzantiumsaint]]) instead regard Theodora's first noted proponent and practitioner of [[abortion]]; she also advocated the rights of married achievements for women not as a modern feminist "liberation" to commit abortion or adultery, and but rather as a truly egalitarian drive to give women the same legal rights of as men, such as establishing homes for prostitutes, passing laws prohibiting forced prostitution, granting women to be socially servicedmore rights in divorce cases, helping allowing women to advance protections own and "delights" for them; inherit property, and was also something of a voice enacting the death penalty for prostitutes and rape, all of which raised women's status far above that current in the Western portion of the downtroddenEmpire.
Other scholars (and those who venerate Theodora as She was also something of a [[saint]]) instead regard Theodora's achievements voice for women not as those of a modern feminist who encouraged abortion or adultery but rather as those of a truly egalitarian ruler who strove to give women the same legal rights as men. Theodora freed prostitutes from their pimps, established homes for them, and passed laws prohibiting forced prostitutionthe downtrodden. She also advocated granting women more rights in divorce cases, allowing women helped to own and inherit property, enacting mitigate the death penalty for rape, and allowing noblemen to marry women from lower classes. These changes raised womenbreach in Christianity that loomed large over her time; she probably had a large part in Justinian's status far above that current in efforts to reconcile the Western portion of the EmpireMonophysites to orthodoxy.
Theodora died of cancer (probably breast cancer) before the age of 50, some 20 years before Justinian died. Her body was buried in the [[Church of the Holy Apostles (Constantinople)|Church of the Holy Apostles]], one of the splendid churches the emperor and empress had built in Constantinople. Both Theodora and Justinian are represented in beautiful mosaics that exist to this day in the [[Church of San Vitale (Ravenna)|Church of San Vitale]] at Ravenna in northern Italy, which was completed a year before her death.
==External links==
*[http://ocafs.oca.org/FeastSaintsViewer.asp?FSID=103302 St Theodora the Empress] ([[OCA]])
*[http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/justinian/ Justinian, Theodora and Procopius]
==External Links==
* [http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/justinian/ Justinian, Theodora and Procopius]
*[http://www.soc-wus.org/ourchurch/St.%20Theodora%20Empress.htm St. Theodora] (Syriac Orthodox Patriarchal Vicariate of the Western United States)
 
[[Category: Roman Emperors]]
[[Category:Rulers]]
[[Category:Saints]]
[[Category:Byzantine Saints]]
[[Category:Syrian Saints]]
[[Category:6th-century saints]]

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