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.


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.

She entered monasticism after being widowed ca. 1267/8, similarly to St. Athanasia of Aegina and St. 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.

She founded a convent in Arta and her attributes are described by her iconographer as ascetical and charitable.

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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