Saturday, 16 February 2013
Theodore - gift of God
It's this difference between word and experience that marks the new life of a Christian. He or she hears - perhaps many times - about the love of God in Christ and how when one becomes a Christian it brings a deep sense of joy and peace. But it is only when that is experienced for oneself - when it is truly ours - does it really make sense and become fully understood.
There are several saints called Theodore. One of them was Theodore of Amasea known as a Warrior Saint. Not much is known about him except that he was martyred in the early 4th century. According to what has been passed down about him he was a recruit serving in the Roman army at Amasea, which is the modern Amasya in Northern Turkey. When he refused to join his fellow soldiers in pagan rites of worship, he was arrested, but then (perhaps on account of his youth) set free after a warning. However, he again protested paganism by setting fire to the temple of Cybele (the local mother-goddess) at Amasea. He was then condemned to death and, after tortures, was executed by being thrown into a furnace.
His remains were said to have been obtained by a woman from Eusebia and interred at Euchaita, where he had been born. This was a Byzantine city which no longer exists but is thought to correspond to the modern Avkhat, which is about 30 miles from Amasea. A shrine was erected there, which became an important place of pilgrimage.
Gregory of Nyssa preached in honour of St Theodore in his sanctuary in the late 4th century, and this is the earliest source for any information about him.
Looking at our Theodore (above) you wonder what his saintly counterpart looked like when he was newly born and whether his mother ever thought that his future lay in martyrdom? God alone know what is ahead of us - thank God (literally) but its good to know that our Theo's namesake was so faithful and our hope and prayer is that he will follow his example when he is older.