Saturday before Cheesefare Sunday
March 1, 2019 - March 2, 2019
Saturday before Cheesefare Sunday;
The Holy Priest-Martyr Theodotus, Bishop of Cyrenia (c. 321);
Romans 14:19-26; Galatians 5:22-6:2; Matthew 6:1-13; Matthew 11:27-30.
Hieromartyr Theodotus, a native of Galatia in Asia Minor, was Bishop of Cyrenia in Cyprus. During a time of persecution against Christians under the impious emperor Licinius (311-324), Saint Theodotus openly preached Christ, calling on the pagans to abandon idolatry and turn to the true God. Sabinus, the governor of Cyprus, ordered that Bishop Theodotus be arrested and brought to trial.
When he heard about this order, the saint did not wait for the soldiers to be sent after him, but immediately went to the governor saying, “I, whom you seek, am here. I have shown myself in order to preach Christ my God.”
The governor ordered that the saint be beaten without mercy, suspended from a tree, raked with sharp implements, and then be taken to prison. Five days later Saint Theodotus was brought to the governor, who presumed that after his tortures the bishop would prefer to renounce Christ, rather than endure new sufferings.
However, Saint Theodotus did not cease to preach about Christ. At first they put the saint on an iron grate, under which they lit a fire, and then hammered nails into his feet and let him go. Many witnessed the sufferings of the martyr. Astonished at the saint’s endurance and his divinely-inspired speech, they came to believe in Christ. Learning of this, Sabinus gave orders to stop the torture and throw the saint into prison.
During the reign of Saint Constantine the Great (May 21), the freedom to confess their faith was given to all Christians, and among those set free from prison was Saint Theodotus. The saint returned to Cyrenia and after two years serving as bishop he peacefully fell asleep in the Lord in about the year 326.