St. Theodora the Empress icon

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Orthodox icon of Saint Theodora  the Empress or Augusta.

Commemorated February 11.

This Orthodox icon depicts the Holy Empress Theodora who was from Paphlagonia. She was the wife of the Roman Emperor Theophilos the Iconoclast (829-842), but she did not share in the heresy of her husband. As long as her husband Theophilos lived, she privately venerated icons, despite his displeasure. After the death of her husband, St Theodora governed the realm wisely for fifteen years because her son Michael was a minor.

She convened a Synod, at which the Iconoclasts were anathematized, and the veneration of icons was reinstated. St Theodora established the annual celebration of this event, the Triumph of Orthodoxy, on the first Sunday of the Great Fast. St Theodora did much for the Holy Church and fostered a firm devotion to Orthodoxy in her son Michael.

When Michael came of age, in 857 she was retired from governing and spent eight years in the Monastery of St Euphrosyne (called Gastria), where she devoted herself to ascetic struggles, and reading books that nourished her soul.She died peacefully around the year 867.In 1460, her incorrupt and miracle-working relics were given by the Turks to the people of Kerkyra (Corfu).

They remain in the Church of the Most Holy Theotokos of the Cave, in the capital city of the island, and it is a place of pious pilgrimage by Orthodox faithful till this day.

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