March 16 
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March 16

Great Lent. Oil and wine allowed

First Saturday of Great Lent
Commemoration of St. Theodore the Recruit and the Miracle of the Boiled Wheat.
 Martyr Sabinas of Egypt (287). Martyr Papas of Lyconia (305-311). St. Serapion, Archbishop of Novgorod (1516). Apostle Aristobulus of the Seventy, Bishop of Britain (1st c.). Hieromartyr Alexander, Pope of Rome (119). Martyr Julian of Anazarbus (3rd c.). Hieromartyrs Trophimus and Thalus, of Laodicea (ca. 300).

Commemoration of St. Theodore the Recruit and the Miracle of the Boiled Wheat.

tiron

Today we remember the miracle of Saint Theodore and the boiled wheat. Fifty years after the death of Saint Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), wanting to commit an outrage upon the Christians during the first week of Great Lent, commanded the city-commander of Constantinople to sprinkle all the food provisions in the marketplaces with the blood offered to idols. Saint Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva).

In memory of this occurrence, the Orthodox Church annually celebrates the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit on the first Saturday of Great Lent. On Friday evening, at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts following the prayer at the ambo, the Canon to the holy Great Martyr Theodore, composed by Saint John of Damascus, is sung. After this, kolyva is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration of the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople (381-397).

The Troparion to Saint Theodore is quite similar to the Troparion for the Prophet Daniel and the Three Holy Youths (December 17, Sunday Before Nativity). The Kontakion to Saint Theodore, who suffered martyrdom by fire, reminds us that he also had faith as his breastplate (see I Thessalonians 5:8).

Saint Theodore the Recruit is also commemorated on February 17.

Troparion of the saint, tone 2

Great are the accomplishments of faith, / For the Holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced in the flames as though at the waters of rest, / Offering himself as sweet bread to the Trinity. / So by his prayers, O Christ God, save our souls!

Kontakion of the saint, tone 8

Your faith in Christ was like a breastplate upon your heart: / With its aid, you overcame the power of the enemy. / Therefore you are crowned in eternity with a heavenly diadem.

Hebrews 1:1-12 (Epistle)

1
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets,
2
has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;
3
who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
4
having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
5
For to which of the angels did He ever say: “You are My Son, today I have begotten You”? And again: “I will be to Him a Father, and He shall be to Me a Son”?
6
But when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says: “Let all the angels of God worship Him.”
7
And of the angels He says: “Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of fire.”
8
But to the Son He says: “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
9
You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness more than Your companions.”
10
And: “You, LORD, in the beginning laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of Your hands.
11
They will perish, but You remain; and they will all grow old like a garment;
12
like a cloak You will fold them up, and they will be changed. But You are the same, and Your years will not fail.”

Mark 2:23-3:5 (Gospel)

23
Now it happened that He went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; and as they went His disciples began to pluck the heads of grain.
24
And the Pharisees said to Him, “Look, why do they do what is not lawful on the Sabbath?”
25
But He said to them, “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and hungry, he and those with him:
26
how he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the showbread, which is not lawful to eat except for the priests, and also gave some to those who were with him?”
27
And He said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath.
28
Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.”
1
And He entered the synagogue again, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
2
So they watched Him closely, whether He would heal him on the Sabbath, so that they might accuse Him.
3
And He said to the man who had the withered hand, “Step forward.”
4
Then He said to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they kept silent.
5
And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other.

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About the Author

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne

Emma Cazabonne was born and raised in France, where she taught English. She moved to the United States in 2001, and she now teaches French. Beside her anthology on Cistercian texts, she has translated and published articles on Cistercian spirituality, the Middle Ages, and Orthodoxy. She converted to Orthodoxy in 2008. Her husband is an Orthodox priest. If you are interested in having your book translated into French, she can be contacted here https://wordsandpeace.com/contact-me/

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