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April 5, 2018

Synaxarion of the Holy Martyrs Theodora and Didymus

Sts. Theodora and Didymus (Feast Day - April 5)


With your fellow athlete, Didymus, after beheading you were burned,
Being brought with her to a twin punishment.

During the reign of the emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian (286-305), when Eustratios was governor of Alexandria, there was a persecution against the Christians. At that time the virgin Theodora was arrested, having confessed Christ as God before all. For this she was beaten and imprisoned. A few days having passed, the Saint was again taken out of prison and condemned, after which they shut her in a house of prostitution. Meanwhile the governor sent unbridled young men there to dishonor her. These young men hastened there like madmen after a woman, that were let loose on the Saint. The Saint entreated God to guard her. Therefore God managed through His divine Providence, and found there a glorious commander named Didymus, who was dressed in the uniform of a soldier, and taking off his uniform, he gave it to the virgin to wear, as well as his armor. These the virgin put on to wear, while Didymus advised her to leave the house of prostitution, and in this way she was kept blameless and pure, and she gave thanks to God.

So when one of the licentious men entered the house of prostitution for the virgin, he found Didymus sitting there instead of her, and he stood there astonished, and thought to himself, saying: "Perhaps Christ changed the virgin woman into a man? We saw Didymus who had entered, wearing his soldiers uniform, leaving. But the virgin who was here, where is she now? When I had heard Christ changed the water into wine, I thought it was a myth and a falsehood, but now I see a greater miracle." When Didymus saw him thinking to himself and wondering, he revealed to him the plan, and how he managed this drama, and said that if he wanted, to go tell it to the governor, and to add also, that Didymus changed her outfit and liberated her, and he is waiting at the house of prostitution.

Immediately the unbridled youth delivered this message to the governor, and immediately Didymus was made to stand before the tribunal of the governor. The governor therefore asked: "Why did you dare do such a thing?" The Saint responded: "Because I am a Christian, and I know I did the right thing, therefore by this one thing I managed to gather two crowns for myself. One, by saving the virgin from your unbelieving hands, and guarding her purity, and the other, by revealing myself to you that I am a Christian." The commander said: "Having shown such daring, I order your head to be cut off, and because you believe in Christ, and you refuse to sacrifice to the gods, I order your body to be burnt in fire."

The Saint cried out with joy: "Blessed is my God, Who did not overlook my purpose and contrivance, that I discovered." Therefore the athlete of Christ went to the place of his execution, where he prayed, and was beheaded. And his holy soul ascended into the heavens, which certain Christians saw and witnessed, while his body was cast into the flames. Then some lovers of Christ gathered his honorable relics, that remained after the fire, and buried them in a glorious place. Likewise the virgin Theodora was again arrested, and was burned in the flames, in this way completing her martyric path, and she received from the Lord an unfading crown.