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December 29, 2018

Synaxarion of our Venerable Father Thaddeus the Confessor (+ 818)

St. Thaddeus the Confessor (Feast Day - December 29)


Although Thaddeus was of a barbarian race,
He rebuked the impious with boldness.

Our Holy Father Thaddeus became the first slave to the most-venerable Theodore* who, by imperial decree, received the Monastery of Stoudios and converted it into a coenobium. Afterwards he was liberated from slavery, and the hairs of his head were tonsured in this Monastery of Stoudios, becoming a monk. Because he pursued conduct that was pleasing to God, he was beloved by all. He occupied himself with fasting and many vigils, had self-control over his tongue, payed attention to divine discourses, practiced sleeping on the ground, surpassed all in obedience, and was great in poverty, for the thrice-blessed one had nothing except the clothes he wore. Because at that time with the consent of God there ruled impious and iconoclast emperors, Michael the Stammerer (820-829) and his son Theophilos (829-842),** all the pious Bishops and Abbots of monasteries, as well as others, were imprisoned, while others were exiled. One of these was the great struggler Theodore, the master and abbot of Venerable Thaddeus. One time the Venerable One went with Saint Theodore to the imperial palace. Having become inflamed with divine zeal, he rebuked the impious emperor before the leader of the senate. The emperor ordered that the holy icon of the Savior be brought forth, and to be placed on the ground. The Venerable One was also forced to be held by strong brave men, and to be placed on top of the holy icon. There he stood without moving, standing on it against his will.

With this being done, the tyrant said to the Venerable One: "See, how you have trampled on the icon of your Christ. Therefore consent to our words." Then his soul truly became inflamed, and he responded to him: "I, most impious tyrant, full of all uncleanness, did not do this of my own accord. God forbid! But out of your own villainy and unjust judgment was this device contrived. Rather I venerate the holy icon of my Christ and God and embrace it. And for it I am ready to die." The vagrant tyrant was shamed by these words, as well as because he was insulted by a countryman and Scythian by race. Therefore he ordered for the Venerable One to be thrown to the ground before him, and to be beaten mercilessly. The renowned one was beaten with thick rods to such a point, that everyone thought he was dead. For this reason he was dragged outside, his feet were tied up, and he was dragged like a dead unclean animal throughout the marketplace. He was then cast near the wall of the city, near a spring of water, to which they returned to wash themselves, for they had touched someone unclean. The blessed Thaddeus, who was more brave in all things and endured them gratefully, lived for three days, then departed to the Lord.


* This was Saint Theodore the Studite.

* This probably took place instead under Emperor Leo V the Armenian (813-820).