Theodoret of Antioch
The Holy Hieromartyr Theodoret of Antioch, in Greek: Θεοδώρητος, "God given", also Hieromartyr Theodoretus, was a Syrian Christian priest of Antioch who was martyred in Antioch during the reign of emperor Julian the Apostate in the fourth century. He is commemorated on March 8.
Theodoret was a priest, and keeper of the sacred vessels, in Antioch during the time after emperor Julian had named his nephew, also named Julian, a count and governor of the East. Count Julian, having heard that one of the churches of Antioch held much rich treasure, became determined to seize it. He began by issuing a proclamation banning the clergy from office. Theodoret, however, rejected the banishment and continued to serve his flock and publicly celebrated the divine services.
Count Julian then had Theodoret arrested and brought before him. Standing before Julian with his hands bound, Theodoret was accused of destroying the statues of the gods during an earlier reign. In his defense Theodoret reproached Count Julian for his apostasy for abandoning Christianity and returning to paganism. Enraged, Julian ordered Theodoret tortured, which he endured with courage for the sake of his faith. He was subsequently beheaded on October 22, 362.
Before his death, Church tradition says that he rebuked the Count and magistrate with a prophesy that he and emperor Julian would die: "O most wretched man," he said, "you know well that at the day of judgment the crucified God Whom you blaspheme will send you and the tyrant whom you serve to hell." Later, emperor Julian died in battle against the Sassanid Empire.
- "Lives of the Saints, For Every Day of the Year," p. 416
- Lives of the Saints by Alban Butler, Benziger Bros. Edition: "St. Theodoret"