From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Thu Feb 4 23:10:18 2021
On the Joy of God's Service [IV]
What return can I make for all these countless favors? If only I could
serve You faithfully all the days of my life! If only I could render
You worthy service, even for a single day! For You alone are worthy of
all service, honor, and eternal praise. (Rev. 4:11) You are truly my
God, and I Your poor servant, who am bound to serve with all my
powers, nor should I ever weary in Your praise. This is my wish and
desire; whatever is lacking in me, I pray you to supply.
--Thomas à Kempis --Imitation of Christ, Bk 3 Ch 10
February 5th – St. Theodula of Anazarbus in Cilicia
St. Theodula lived in the city of Anazarbus (Asia Minor) during the
reign of the Roman emperors Diocletian (284-305) and Maximian
(305-311). The prefect of the city, Pelagius, was very cruel. His
servants sought out Christians throughout the entire region and
brought them to trial, where the imperial edict was read to them, and
they were ordered to worship idols.
Theodula was brought before him, and Pelagius ordered that she worship
the pagan gods, threatening her with torture if she refused. St.
Theodula replied, “I am a Christian. My very name means ‘servant of
God,’ and so people call me Theodula. I worship the One True God and
will not worship a mere stone.”
Pelagius became angry and gave orders to begin the torture. The Lord
granted Theodula His help, and she did not feel any pain. Pelagius,
however, said this was done by the gods, who had spared Theodula in
the hope that she would turn to them.
St. Theodula said to the prefect, “Where are your gods who spare me?
Show them to me, that I might show honor to them.” They brought her
into the temple of the “deified” Roman emperor Hadrian, whom the
pagans regarded as a mighty god. Theodula, in praying to the One True
God, merely blew a breath at the idol, and it crumbled into dust.
Seeing this, Pelagius was terrified. If the idol’s destruction was
reported to the emperor, he himself would be thrown to the wild
beasts. He fell down at St. Theodula’s feet, begging her to restore
the idol, and promising to accept Christianity.
Theodula prayed to the Lord Jesus Christ, and the idol again stood in
its place, whole and intact. Pelagius, however, not only did not keep
his promise to become a Christian, but instead began to torture
Theodula with an even greater fury.
During these torments, a man by the name of Helladius appeared before
Pelagius, and looking at the captive, asked to be given Theodula,
promising to make her worship the pagan gods, because he wanted to
ingratiate himself with Pelagius and receive honors.
Helladius subjected Theodula to harsh torments, exceeding Pelagius in
cruelty. The saint prayed that God would grant her the ability to
persevere. She immediately received help from God and was healed.
Helladius was awestruck, and St. Theodula admonished him. “Become a Christian,” she said, “and attain eternal honors in the Kingdom of our
Lord Jesus Christ, Who shall judge both the living and the dead and
render to each man according to his deeds.”
By her prayers and her words, St. Theodula led Helladius to the
knowledge of the Truth. He believed in Christ and confessed the True
God before Pelagius. He received the crown of martyrdom when they cut
off his head with a sword and threw his body into the sea.
St. Theodula was thrown into a blazing oven, but remained unharmed.
After this, she was stretched out on a metal plate where boiling tar,
wax and oil were poured on her, but the red-hot plate shattered into
pieces, and the fire scorched many people, including Pelagius, who
died of fright. However, St. Theodula remained unharmed.
Seeing this miracle, many people came to believe in Christ, among whom
were Macarius and Evagrius. The pagans continued to torture the
Christian through the heating of an oven. They threw Sts. Theodula,
Macarius, Evagrius and many others who believed in Christ into it.
They all suffered martyrdom, and were translated into life immortal.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
Your holy martyr Theodula, O Lord,
Through her sufferings has received an
incorruptible crown from You, our God.
For having Your strength, she laid low her adversaries,
And shattered the powerless boldness of demons.
Through her intercessions, save our souls!
Disengage thyself a while from earthly care, and give thyself for a
time to think of God, and to repose a little in Him. Then, having
closed the door of thy senses, say with the affection of thy soul: O
Lord, behold I am in quest of Thy lovely Countenance; teach Thy poor
servant how to find it.
"Jesus answered: Amen, amen, I say to thee, unless a man be born again
of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"
OFFERING OF THE PRECIOUS BLOOD
we offer Thee the precious Blood of Jesus,
shed for us through exceeding love,
and with exceeding pain
from the wound of His right hand;
through the merits and virtues of which,
we beseech Thy divine Majesty
to bestow on us Thy sacred benediction,
that by its efficacy
we may be protected from our enemies,
and delivered from every evil.
For this purpose we say:
May the blessing of Almighty God,
Father, Son, and Holy Ghost,
descend upon us,
and remain always with us. Amen.