April 21

From the Prologue

Theodore suffered for the Faith of Christ in Perga of Pamphylia during the reign of Antonius. Theodore was young and of handsome countenance. When the governor of that province chose him, along with other young men, who were to be sent to the imperial court for service, Theodore objected and declared that he is a Christian. Because of that, he underwent many kinds of tortures and was then tossed into the fire. But, water bubbled out of the ground and quenched the fire. The governor attributed this to some magic of Theodore. But, the martyr said: "This is not the work of my power but Christ my God. If you want to know the power of your gods, light another fire and toss in one of your soldiers and then I hope you will see their power and the Almighty power of my God." Indeed, the governor wanted to cast one of his soldiers into the fire but they, out of fear, implored him to throw in their place Dioscorus, the pagan priest. The pagan priest Dioscorus then begged the governor to throw in the idol of Zeus and the other idols and, if they are gods, they will easily save themselves. Dioscorus said this because he had turned to Christ in his heart since he saw the miracle that took place with St. Theodore. Learning of this, the governor sentenced Dioscorus to death by burning; also delivered over to death by the governor were Theodore and the two soldiers, Socrates and Dionysius and Theodore's mother, Philippa. Theodore was crucified on a cross on which he expired on the third day. Socrates and Dionysius were pierced with a spear and Philippa was beheaded. All were crowned with the wreaths of glory in the Kingdom of Christ.



I serve one King and another I cannot,

I serve the Living Christ, Lord and God!

Thus said Theodore to the Roman governor,

The governor looked upon him as upon a beautiful picture,

And, at first, began to dissuade him quietly

But all dissuasions remained to no avail

In a fiery furnace, with companions two,

Theodore's mouth, all filled with Psalms.

God, with a cold dew, over the terrible fire, poured

In the midst of the fire, Theodore, to his Lord prays,

That, before his death, his mother once more to see.

According to Your mercy O God, do this for me!

And the mother [Philippa] in the furnace, appeared to her son,

To one another said what had to be said.

Philippa, the aged mother the governor summons,

The aged one obediently responded to him

I called you, said he, to counsel your son

To openly deny the Nazarene,

And to acknowledge the gods of the Roman Empire

If you wish that your son not die.

And Philippa said: before I gave birth to him

I prayed to God: Lord, have mercy!

And a reply I received, that I will live

To see my son crucified for Christ.

And now, that is why toward death I am indifferent

For the death of the both of us, to God I am grateful.

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