Saint Theodore the Sikeot bishop of Anastasiapolis
Celebration date: 22/04
Saint Theodoros was born in the village of Sykea or Sykeon of Anastasiapolis, the first city of the province of Ankyrane, and was the son of the prostitute Maria and Cosmas, apocrisario (postman) of King Justinian. The Holy One’s birth from prostitution did not prevent God from making him a most honorable High Priest and enriching him with paradoxical divine signs and miracles. At school he excelled in learning, and at the age of ten he showed an inclination to the solitary life. One night, when Osios was twelve years old, the Holy Great Martyr George the Trophy Bearer appeared to him and after waking him up, he said to him: “Get up, Theodore, the hour has come, let’s go to pray.” Osios had so much reverence for Saint George, that every afternoon, leaving school, he climbed the nearby rocky mountain, where Saint George was on pilgrimage. He was led by the Saint himself in the form of a lad. Osios followed the monastic state at a young age with the blessing of the Bishop of Anastasiopolis Theodosios. A little later he was ordained deacon and elder. He immediately visited the Holy Land and took the shape of a monk in the monastery of the Most Holy Theotokos of Huziva. He then returned to his native country and remained permanently in the chapel of Agios Georgios. There he built himself up with fastings and austerities, with vigils and psalms, for which reason he enjoyed from God, a river of more gifts against unclean spirits and all kinds of diseases. His mother, having a carnal mind, abandoned her son and after taking as much of the property as was her share, married David, a man of the imperial guard of Ankara. His mother’s sister, Despinia, her mother Elpidia and Osios’ sister, Vlatta, did not accept to be separated from him. On the contrary, they carefully observed his virtuous life and tried to imitate him as much as they could, purifying and sanctifying themselves with sobriety and purity of life, with alms and prayers. After the death of the Bishop of Anastasiopolis, Timotheus, the inhabitants of the city, clergy and laity, went to Ankara and asked the Metropolitan of Ankara, Paul, to appoint the Bishop of their city, Osios Theodoros. Osios did not accept this proposal in any way. So the Christians resorted to violence. They took him out and after placing him on a stretcher, kidnapped him.
During his ordination as a Bishop someone saw a huge radiant star descend from the sky and stand on top of the church, sparkling and illuminating the city and the surrounding area.
Saint Theodore arrived in Anastasiopolis together with the Bishop of the city of Kinnas, Amiantos, by whom he was enthroned. Since then he shone continuously as a sun with the divine gifts of the yamas, with the austerity of his life, with all the virtues and benevolences.
Saint Theodore wished to visit Jerusalem for a second time. There he worshiped the Holy Cross, the Tomb of the Lord and all the sanctuaries that existed in the area, as well as the nearby monasteries. But he was bothered by the calculation and finally convinced him not to return back to his homeland, but to live a quiet life in one of the monasteries that existed there. He thought that he had fallen outside the solitary measure because he assumed the spiritual responsibility of the Bishopric and because he was saddened by the disturbing situations that existed in it. So he went to the Lavra of Agios Savvas and lived there in a cell of a militant monk, whose name was Andreas. One night, however, Saint George appeared in his sleep and, after giving him a staff, said to him: “Get up and walk, because many people are sad because you are absent. It is not permissible to leave your diocese and live here.” So Osios said goodbye to the fathers of the monastery and took the way back.
When he arrived in the parts of Galatia, near the monastery of the Druines, he charged them not to tell anyone about it, since those who were there did not know him. However, the reputation of Osios spread far and wide. Thus many came to the monastery to receive his blessing.
From there the Blessed One returned to Anastasiapolis, bringing joy to all with his return. But Osios had decided to resign, to follow the quiet path. For this reason he met the Bishop of Ankara Pavlos and begged him to accept his resignation. Bishop Pavlos did not want to accept the resignation of the Holy One. And after an intense discussion took place between them, in the end they decided to send a message to the Patriarch of Constantinople, Kyriakos, to raise this issue with him. Patriarch Kyriakos, at the exhortation of the king, instructed the Metropolitan of Ankara to accept the request of the Holy One, even to give him the stipend of the Episcopate, in order to maintain his position, as he was a holy man and was leaving the Episcopate without has committed a crime.
So Osios came to the region of Heliopolis and isolated himself in the temple of the Archangel in Akrina, very close to the village of Pidros. At the same time, Osios also received letters from King Maurice and Patriarch Kyriakos, who urged him to visit Constantinople and bless them. So he went to the god-guarded city, where he preached the word of God and healed many.
Osios returned to Gaul, but visited Constantinople a second time, in the year 610 AD, during the reign of Patriarch Thomas, at whose death he was present. And after being honored by Patriarch Sergius, he returned to his monastery, where he continued his theophilous life.
Saint Theodore slept in peace in the year 613 AD.