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December 3, 2010

Saint Theodoulos the Eparch of Constantinople and Stylite

St. Theodoulos of Constantinople  (Feast Day - December 3)

Saint Theodoulos was an eparch of Constantinople during the reign of Theodosius the Great (379-395).

After his wife's death, Saint Theodoulos gave his wealth of 550 litres of gold away to the poor and became a monk. He resigned his position because he did not want to be distracted by vain worldly cares. He traveled to Edessa and lived on top of a pillar for thirty years, eating nothing except once a week the Body and Blood of Christ together with the antidron.

At one point the thought came to him to wonder who lived a life of virtue equal to him. He received a divine answer when he heard a voice say that he was equal with Cornelius the Mime, who worked in a theatre in Damascus and bore the name Pandouros. Troubled by this he went to Damascus to search out Cornelius the Mime.

Finding him, Theodoulos fell at his feet and asked about his way of life. Cornelius responded that he was a sinner without any virtue. Insisting that he tell him, Theodoulos pleaded with him once again. Cornelius then responded that he was once a mime who travelled around with actors and dancers until he came to realize he was a great sinner. Being convicted by the Final Judgement he left everything to live a pure life and gave everything to the poor.

Not being satisfied with this, Theodoulos inquired of Cornelius to tell him more. Cornelius then told him how there was once a wealthy woman who married a certain man. Because the husband was a prodigal he spent his entire fortune as well as that of the woman. His debts eventually led him into prison, and his wife did not have the money to have him fed. She would beg for money, but because she was beautiful there was great danger for her. It was then that Cornelius met her and found out her story. When he asked of her debt, she said it was 400 gold coins. Having only 230 gold coins, he went and sold what he could, even his best clothes, in order to raise the 400. Giving her the money, she was able to free her husband. Hearing this story Theodoulos glorified God and returned to mount his pillar satisfied.

Saint Theodoulos the Stylite departed to the Lord around 440.