Orthodox Thought for the Day


Saturday, March 3, 2012

St. Theodore and the miracle of the koliva

For those remembering their loved ones in Church today with an offering of koliva, may their memories be eternal!

Immense is the benefit of the Divine Liturgy, of commemorations for the departed, etc., of course, they are only full of benefit for those who repented, who had some signs of virtues, but did not have the time to knead the bread of virtues due to negligence, indolence and procrastination. For those people, the prayers of the Church and personal prayers, alms, philanthropic deeds, etc., fill up their deficiencies, through the abundance of God’s mercy. St. Mark the Ascetic

St. Theodor Teron and the Miracle of the Koliva

Russian Icon

Published: Exhibition Cataloque: Kunst des Christlichen Ostens,H. Skrobucha, 1986
Hoechst Cat No 179

St. Theodore and the Great Miracle of the Kollyva

In 361, Julian the Apostate was doing his utmost to restore pagan customs. Knowing that the Christians were accustomed to sanctify the first week of Lent by fasting and prayer, the wily tyrant told the Prefect of Constantinople to have all of the food set out for sale in the markets sprinkled with the blood of animals sacrificed to the gods, so that no one in the city would escape the contagion of idolatry. However, the Lord did not abandon His chosen people, but sent His servant Theodore to outwit the tyrant. Appearing in a vision to Patriarch Eudoxius (360-364), the holy Martyr informed him of what was happening and told him to instruct the Christians not to buy food from the markets but instead to eat kolyva made from grains of boiled wheat. Thus, thanks to the intervention of the holy Martyr Theodore, the Christian people were preserved from the stain of idolatry. The Church has commemorated this miracle ever since on the first Saturday of Great Lent, in order to remind the faithful that fasting and temperance have the power to cleanse all the stains of sin.

Saint Theodore the Tryon wrought many other miracles for those who had recourse to him with faith, and who persevered in prayer in his church. One day, shining in glory on his white horse, he appeared to a poor widow and restored her only son who had been captured by Saracens. He often brought the tempest-tossed to safety, thieves to light and runaways back to their masters. In all his miracles, this Roman legionary showed that he had become the heavenly protector of the Christian people.

Orthodox Christian Celebration of the Feast of Saint Theodore The Tyron

The feast and commemoration of Saint Theodore the Tyron is celebrated with the Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom which is conducted on the morning of the feast and preceded by a Matins (Orthros) service. A Great Vespers may be conducted on the evening before the day of the Feast. The commemoration of the appearance of Saint Theodore and the miracle of the kolyva is celebrated on the first Saturday of Great Lent each year with a Divine Liturgy and a Memorial Service. This day is the last of three Saturday of Souls observed each year at the beginning of the Lenten season. The faithful bring kolyva and lists of names of friends and family members who have reposed in the faith. The names are read by the
priest during the Memorial Service.


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