Afterfeast of the Theophany.
Ven. Theodosius the Great, the Cenobiarch (529). Ven. Michael of Klops Monastery, Fool-for-Christ (Novgorod—ca. 1453-56). St. Theodosius of Antioch (ca. 412). Ven. Theodosius, Metropolitan of Trebizond (1392). The “ELETSKAIA” Icon of the Most-holy Theotokos (1060).
Saint Theodosius the Great lived during the fifth-sixth centuries, and was the founder of cenobitic monasticism. He was born in Cappadocia of pious parents. Endowed with a splendid voice, he zealously toiled at church reading and singing. Saint Theodosius prayed fervently that the Lord would guide him on the way to salvation. In his early years he visited the Holy Land and met with Saint Simeon the Stylite (September 1), who blessed him and predicted future pastoral service for him.
Yearning for the solitary life, Saint Theodosius settled in Palestine into a desolate cave, in which, according to Tradition, the three Magi had spent the night, having come to worship the Savior after His Nativity. He lived there for thirty years in great abstinence and unceasing prayer. People flocked to the ascetic, wishing to live under his guidance. When the cave could no longer hold all the monks, Saint Theodosius prayed that the Lord Himself would indicate a place for the monks. Taking a censer with cold charcoal and incense, the monk started walking into the desert.
At a certain spot the charcoal ignited by itself and the incense smoke began to rise. Here the monk established the first cenobitic monastery, or Lavra (meaning “broad” or “populous”). Soon the Lavra of Saint Theodosius became renowned, and up to 700 monks gathered at it. According to the final testament of Saint Theodosius, the Lavra rendered service to neighbor, giving aid to the poor and providing shelter for wanderers.
Saint Theodosius was extremely compassionate. Once, when there was a famine in Palestine and a multitude of people gathered at the monastery, the monk gave orders to allow everyone into the monastery enclosure. His disciples were annoyed, knowing that the monastery did not have the means to feed all those who had come. But when they went into the bakery, they saw that through the prayers of the abba, it was filled with bread. This miracle was repeated every time Saint Theodosius wanted to help the destitute.
At the monastery, Saint Theodosius built a home for taking in strangers, separate infirmaries for monks and laymen, and also a shelter for the dying. Seeing that people from various lands gathered at the Lavra, the saint arranged for services in the various languages: Greek, Georgian and Armenian. All gathered to receive the Holy Mysteries in the large church, where divine services were chanted in Greek.
During the reign of the Byzantine Emperor Anastasius (491-518) there arose the heresy of Eutychius and Severus, which recognized neither the sacraments nor the clergy. The emperor accepted the false teaching, and the Orthodox began to suffer persecution. Saint Theodosius stood firmly in defense of Orthodoxy and wrote a letter to the emperor on behalf of the monks, in which they denounced him and refuted the heresy with the teachings of the Ecumenical Councils. He affirmed moreover, that the desert-dwellers and monks would firmly support the Orthodox teaching. The emperor showed restraint for a short while, but then he renewed his persecution of the Orthodox. The holy Elder then showed great zeal for the truth. Leaving the monastery, he came to Jerusalem and in the church, he stood at the high place and cried out for all to hear: “Whoever does not honor the four Ecumenical Councils, let him be anathema!” For this bold deed the monk was sent to prison, but soon returned after the death of the emperor.
Saint Theodosius accomplished many healings and other miracles during his life, coming to the aid of the needy. Through his prayers he once destroyed the locusts devastating the fields in Palestine. Also by his intercession, soldiers were saved from death, and he also saved those perishing in shipwrecks and those lost in the desert.
Once, the saint gave orders to strike the semandron (a piece of wood hit with a mallet), so that the brethren would gather at prayer. He told them, “The wrath of God draws near the East.” After several days it became known that a strong earthquake had destroyed the city of Antioch at the very hour when the saint had summoned the brethren to prayer.
Before his death, Saint Theodosius summoned to him three beloved bishops and revealed to them that he would soon depart to the Lord. After three days, he died at the age of 105. The saint’s body was buried with reverence in the cave in which he lived at the beginning of his ascetic deeds.
TROPARIA AND KONTAKIA
Troparion of the Theophany, tone 1
When You, O Lord were baptized in the Jordan The worship of the Trinity was made manifest For the voice of the Father bore witness to You And called You His beloved Son. And the Spirit, in the form of a dove, Confirmed the truthfulness of His word. O Christ, our God, You have revealed Yourself And have enlightened the world, glory to You!
Troparion of the saint, tone 8
By a flood of tears you made the desert fertile, and your longing for God brought forth fruits in abundance. By the radiance of miracles you illumined the whole universe! Our Father Theodosius, pray to Christ God to save our souls!
Kontakion of the saint, tone 8
Planted in the courts of your Lord, you blossomed beautifully with virtue, and increased your children in the desert, showering them with streams of your tears, O chief shepherd of the divine flock of God. Therefore, we cry to you: “Rejoice, Father Theodosius.”
Kontakion of the Theophany, tone 4
Today You have shown forth to the world, O Lord, and the light of Your countenance has been marked on us. Knowing You, we sing Your praises. You have come and revealed Yourself, O unapproachable Light.
Titus 1:15-2:10 (Epistle)
- To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
- They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.
- But as for you, speak the things which are proper for sound doctrine:
- that the older men be sober, reverent, temperate, sound in faith, in love, in patience;
- the older women likewise, that they be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things –
- that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children,
- to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.
- Likewise, exhort the young men to be sober-minded,
- in all things showing yourself to be a pattern of good works; in doctrine showing integrity, reverence, incorruptibility,
- sound speech that cannot be condemned, that one who is an opponent may be ashamed, having nothing evil to say of you.
- Exhort bondservants to be obedient to their own masters, to be well pleasing in all things, not answering back,
- not pilfering, but showing all good fidelity, that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior in all things.
Luke 20:19-26 (Gospel)
- And the chief priests and the scribes that very hour sought to lay hands on Him, but they feared the people – for they knew He had spoken this parable against them.
- So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
- Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth:
- Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
- But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me?
- Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?” They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”
- And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
- But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent.