May 29, 2017

Synaxarion of the Holy Venerable Martyr Theodosia of Constantinople (+ 730)

St. Theodosia of Constantinople (Feast Day - May 29)


Killed with the horn of an ox, Theodosia,
You are perceived as the new horn of Amalthea.

Saint Theodosia lived during the reign of Theodosios of Atramyttion [715-717] and was the daughter to pious parents. Her father died when she was seven years old, and her mother took the child and had her tonsured in one of the convents of Constantinople. Then her mother also died, bequeathing her entire fortune to the blessed Theodosia. After commissioning three holy icons of Christ, the most holy Theotokos, and the holy martyr Anastasia of gold and silver, she distributed the remainder of her inheritance to the poor and the orphaned.

After two years, Emperor Leo the Isaurian [717-741], who was originally called Konon and was an iconoclast, deposed the most pious Theodosios and seized control of the empire. Immediately he forcibly banished from the patriarchate with cudgels and swords Saint Germanos [715-730], most-holy and great among patriarchs, because he refused to obey his ungodly decrees, to not venerate the holy icons. Leo then hastened to remove and commit to the flames the holy icon of Christ our God, the one fixed above the gate of Constantinople among which was one called the Holy Chalke Gate* because of this image.

When the emperor's orders were being carried out, and as the spatharios** stood upon the ladder endeavoring to strike down the holy icon with an ax, the blessed Theodosia, together with other pious women, took hold of the ladder, cast the spatharios to the ground, and handed him over to death. Proceeding to the patriarchate, they threw stones at the impious Anastasios [730-754], the chief conspirator.*** As a result, the other women, with the exception of Theodosia, were immediately decapitated.**** The holy woman, however, was seized by a public executioner, savage and inhuman, who dragged her away to the Forum of the Ox, and with great anger drove a horn through the throat of the Saint, and in this way the blessed one received the crown of martyrdom. One can be informed of the numerous miracles, performed by her holy relic on a daily basis, if one wills. Her Synaxis and Feast is celebrated in the Monastery of Dexiokratous, where her holy relic can be found.*****


* Chalke means "brazen," so named either for the gilded bronze tiles of its roof, or for its bronze portals.

** Spatharios, lit. "sword-bearer," a member of the elite imperial guard.

*** He was an iconoclast and placed on the patriarchal throne by Leo III; the original Greek text calls him the "fatriarch" instead of patriarch, which is a pun since "fatria" in Greek means "conspiracy", and this became a common name for iconoclast patriarchs.

**** Ten Martyrs, both men and women, are commemorated on August 9th.

**** The feast of St. Theodosia was moved from July 18th to May 29th. Joseph Bryennios speaks of her miracles. Saint Nikodemos the Hagiorite composed a Divine Office in her honor.

See also:

Synaxarion of the Holy Ten Martyrs at the Chalke Gate