January 14, 2016

Saint Theodoulos, the Son of Saint Nilus of Sinai

Venerable Theodoulos (Feast Day - January 14)


Theodoulos was seen to be great in virtue,
Imitating indeed the life of his father.

Theodoulos was the son of the wise and holy Nilus (Nov. 12), who had been the Prefect of Constantinople, but fled the glory of this world and went to Mount Sinai with his son Theodoulos and became a monk. His wife and daughter also went to Egypt and together retired into a convent. Nilus and Theodoulos lived there in quietude and prayer, until one day the defenseless ascetics were attacked by marauding Saracens, and were slaughtered. Saint Nilus managed to flee, while his son Theodoulos was captured together with another young monk, and they were dragged away by force.

When they were brought to the camp of the barbarians, it was decided to slaughter the youths and sacrifice them to the star of Venus, known as the morning star, which rises before the sun. However, the younger of the two monks managed to escape and fled, leaving Theodolous alone.

After the barbarians celebrated the day's successes with drinking and debauchery, they overslept and did not wake till the morning after the sun had risen. Having therefore missed the morning star, they decided not to sacrifice Theodoulos, rather they decided to sell him at the marketplace of Elusius. Because those who wanted to buy him would only give two gold coins for him, one of the barbarians unsheathed his sword in frustration in order to slaughter him. But when the Bishop saw this, he purchased him and set him free.

In Elusius the Bishop had Theodoulos work in service to the Church, until he was found by his father Nilus who desired to take him back to Mount Sinai. After the Bishop ordained both father and son to the priesthood, they were permitted to return to Sinai, where they lived for a considerable time in austere asceticism.

Father Nilus wrote an account of the slaughters at Sinai and Raithu, as well as the capture of his son, along with ascetical treatises for the benefit of his fellow ascetics. He reposed after living sixty years in the Sinai wilderness, and soon after his son Theodoulos also reposed in peace after living a life well-pleasing to God. Their holy relics were preserved in the Church of the Holy Apostle Paul, which was found in the Orphanage of Constantinople, buried behind the holy altar, having been brought there by Emperor Justinian.