Venerable Theodora of Alexandria
Today we celebrate the Venerable Theodora of Alexandria. Saint Theodora was a married woman who was tempted into sin with another man, being told that sins done in secret are hidden from God. Falling victim to this deceit, she fornicated with the other man, only to come to her senses soon after and deeply regret her sin. She fled to a male monastery (so that her husband would not find her), presented herself as the monk Theodore and begged the abbot to let her stay. After much persuasion, he allowed her to stay and having confessed her sin, she lived a life of repentance and extreme asceticism, surpassing all the other monks there. One day when sent to get supplies from a nearby village, a woman saw Theodora and fell in love with “him”. Making advances towards the Saint, the woman suggested that they sin together. Rebuking the woman, Theodora continued on her way. In order to take revenge, the woman slept with another and got pregnant, blaming the pregnancy on the “monk Theodore”. When the other monks heard of this, they cast the Saint out of the monastery and the woman abandoned the new born child with Theodora. Living off the pity of nearby farmers, Theodora and the child remained seven years in the wilderness until by divine revelation, the abbot of the monastery was informed that God had forgiven the sin of Theodora. Receiving her back into the monastery, Theodora toiled for some years before reposing in the Lord. Only after her death was it revealed that the monk Theodore was actually a woman, putting all other other monks to shame who judged her for the sin she did not commit. When her husband heard about this, he took up the monastic life and her adopted son went on to become abbot of the monastery.
Ἦχος γ’. Θείας πίστεως.
Δῶρον ἔνθεον, ἠγιασμένον, Θεῶ ἤνεγκας, τὴν βιοτήν σου, Θεοδώρα Ὁσία πανεύφημε, τῆς μετανοίας τὸ πῦρ γὰρ ἐμφαίνουσα, μέσον ἀνδρῶν φιλοσόφως διέλαμψας, ὅθεν πρέσβευε, ἀπαύστως τῷ σὲ δοξάσαντι, δωρήσασθαι ἠμὶν τὸ μέγα ἔλεος.
Ἦχος β’. Τὰ ἄνω ζητῶν.
Τὸ σῶμα τὸ σόν, νηστείας κατατήξασα, ἀγρύπνοις εὐχαῖς, τὸν Κτίστην καθικέτευσας, τοῦ λαβεῖν συγχώρησιν, τὴν τελείαν τῆς ἁμαρτίας σου· ἣν καὶ ἔλαβες ἀληθῶς, ὁδὸν μετανοίας ὑποδείξασα.
Troparion — Tone 4
You offered your life as a holy gift, O righteous Theodora, / For resplendent with the light of repentance, you illumined mankind. / Now pray to Christ who has magnified you to grant us his great mercy!
Troparion — Tone 8
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away / but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, venerable Theodora, rejoices with the angels.
Kontakion — Tone 2
You depleted your bodily strength by fasting, vigil, and prayers, / entreating the Creator to grant forgiveness of your sin; / having received it, you showed us the way of repentance, / venerable Mother Theodora.