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First Saturday of Lent: The Commemoration of the Miracle of Kollyva wrought by Saint Theodore the Tyro

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March 23

Reading:

Julian the Apostate, knowing that the Christians purify themselves by fasting most of all during the first week of the Fast -- which is why we call it Clean Week -- planned to defile them especially at that time. Therefore he secretly commanded that during those days the markets be filled with foods that had been defiled with the blood of animals offered in sacrifice to idols. But by divine command the Martyr Theodore (see Feb. 17) appeared during sleep to Eudoxius, then Archbishop of Constantinople. The Saint revealed to him the tyrant's plan, then told him to call the faithful together immediately on Monday morning and prevent them from purchasing those foods, but rather to make kollyva to supply their needs. The bishop asked what kollyva might be, and the Saint answered, "Kollyva is what we call boiled wheat in Euchaita." Thus, the purpose of the Apostate was brought to nought, and the pious people who were preserved undefiled for the whole of Clean Week, rendered thanks to the Martyr on this Saturday, and celebrated his commemoration with kollyva. These things took place in 362. Wherefore, the Church keeps this commemoration each year to the glory of God and the honour of the Martyr.

Apolytikion of 1st Sat. of Lent in the Second Tone

Great are the achievements of faith! In the fountain of flame, as by the water of rest, the holy Martyr Theodore rejoiced; for having been made a whole-burnt offering in the fire, he was offered as sweet bread unto the Trinity. By his prayers, O Christ God, save our souls.

Kontakion of 1st Sat. of Lent in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

Having received the Faith of Christ in thy heart as a breastplate, thou didst trample upon the enemy hosts, O much-suffering champion; and thou hast been crowned eternally with a heavenly crown, since thou art invincible.