Our Holy Mother Theodora.

Commemorated September 11 in the Orthodox Christian Menaion

From the Prologue

From Alexandria, she was the wife of a young man.

Urged on by a fortune-teller, she committed adultery with another man. Her conscience immediately began to trouble her, and she cut off her hair and dressed in men's garb, then went off to the men's monastery of Octodecatos under the man's name of Theodore.

Her labours, fasts, vigils, meekness and tearful repentance were a source of wonder to all the brethren.

Slandered by some harlot, who said that Theodora had lain with her, she would not let the truth be known, regarding it as a punishment from God for her former sin. Driven out of the monastery, she spent seven years wandering in the forests and deserts, caring for the harlot's child.

She overcame all the enemy's assaults, refusing to worship Satan, to take food from the hand of a soldier or to heed her husband's demand that she return to him - for all that was simply devilish illusion, and when Theodora made the sign of the Cross, it all vanished away like smoke.

After seven years, the abbot of the monastery received her back, and she lived there in asceticism a further two years and then entered into rest in the Lord.

Only then did the monks learn that she was a woman; an angel appeared to the abbot and explained everything to him. Her husband came to her funeral, and remained till his death in the cell of his former wife.

St Theodora had very great grace from God: she tamed wild beasts, healed sicknesses and brought water to a dry well. Thus God glorified this true penitent, who, with heroic endurance, spent nine years repenting of one sin.

She entered into rest in the year 490.

From The Prologue From Ochrid by Bishop Nikolai Velimirovich
©1985 Lazarica Press, Birmingham UK

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