St. Theodore Tiron Icon

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Orthodox Icon of Holy and Great Martyr Theodore Tiron or Theodore of Amasea Tyro or Tyron or Tiro or Teron.

Comemmorated February 17th.

Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit (Tiron) came from Amasia in Pontus and was a Roman legionary at the time of Maximian's great persecution (c. 303) He was commaned by his superior to offer incense to the idos and refused. St Theodore firmly confessed his faith in Christ the Savior in a loud voice. He was accused of setting a pagan temple on fire and was brought to the governor where St Theodore boldly and fearlessly confessed his faith, for which he was subjected to new torments and condemned to burning.

The martyr Theodore climbed onto the fire without hesitation, and with prayer and gave up his holy soul to God. Unharmed by the fire, the body of St Theodore was buried in the city of Euchaita, not far from Amasium. His relics were afterwards transferred to Constantinople. Fifty years after the death of St Theodore, the emperor Julian the Apostate (361-363), knowing that the Christians sanctified the first week of Lent by fasting and prayer, he ordered to have all of the food set out for sale in the markets sprinkled with the blood of animals sacrificed to the gods. In this way no one in the city would escape the contagion of idolatry.

St Theodore appeared in a dream to Archbishop Eudoxius, ordering him to inform all the Christians that no one should buy anything at the marketplaces, but rather to eat cooked wheat with honey (kolyva). Thus the Christian people were protected from the stain of idolatry. The Orthodox Church annually celebrates the holy Great Martyr Theodore the Recruit on the first Saturday of Great Lent.

On Friday evening, at the Divine Liturgy of the Presanctified Gifts following the prayer at the ambo, the Canon to the holy Great Martyr Theodore, composed by St John of Damascus, is sung. After this, kolyva is blessed and distributed to the faithful. The celebration of the Great Martyr Theodore on the first Saturday of Great Lent was set by the Patriarch Nectarius of Constantinople (381-397). We pray to St Theodore for the recovery of stolen articles.