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Saint Theodore, Bishop of Edessa

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July 19

Reading:

Our Father among the Saints Theodore was born in Edessa of Mesopotamia. At the age of about nineteen, he became a monk at the Monastery of Mar Sabbas in Palestine. After he had spent some twenty-four years there, he was chosen to become Bishop of Edessa, about the year 836. The city of Edessa at that time was beleaguered with many heresies, among them the Arian, Nestorian, Eutychian, and Manichean. Wishing to free the Orthodox of Edessa from the injustices of the many heretics, he undertook a journey to Babylon in Persia - that is, Baghdad - to ask the Persian King, who then ruled over all Syria, to use his power to protect the Orthodox of Edessa. When he arrived he learned that the King was gravely sick; but gaining admission to him, the holy Bishop Theodore restored him to health through prayer, and, after speaking to him many days in secret about the dispensation of God, converted him to Christ, baptizing him with the name of John. Returning to Edessa having accomplished his purpose, Theodore later learned by revelation that King John, with his three Arab body-guards who had been baptized with him, had professed their faith openly and received martyrs' crowns at the hands of the Persian Moslems. This was in the days when the blessed Theodora and her son Michael reigned in Constantinople. Not long thereafter, Theodore retired to the Monastery of Mar Sabbas, and ended his days.

Apolytikion in the Plagal of the Fourth Tone

You are a guide of Orthodoxy, a teacher of piety and modesty, a luminary of the world, the God inspired pride of monastics. O wise Theodore, you have enlightened everyone by your teachings. You are the harp of the Spirit. Intercede to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.

Kontakion in the Third Tone

From the blessed Edessa, thou wentest forth to the desert, but thou wast called back again to tend Christ's sheep as their shepherd; driving off the wolves of error with thy true doctrines, thou didst make a heathen king a Martyr of Jesus. Hence, O Theodore, we honour thy blest remembrance, O holy Hierarch of Christ.