||Martyrdom of the Holy Martyr Theodotus
||Mark Merlino - Home page
|The following is the "Martyrdom of the Holy Martyr Theodotus." The Greek original text can be found in Pius
Franchi de Cavalieri. I martirii di s. Teodoto e di s. Ariadne in Studi e Testi. (6) Roma, Tipografia
Vaticana, 1901. The following text is taken from the Greek original found on pages 85-87 of Cavalieri's edition.
This martyrdom was taken from two separate manuscripts, the oldest of which dates to the seventh century, though
it was probably composed in either the late fourth or early fifth century (see Stephen Mitchell "Life of Saint
Theodotus of Ancyra." Anatolian Studies 32. Ankara, 1982 p. 93-114)
Saint Theodotus was an inhabitant of Roman Ancyra (modern Ankara Turkey) and he was probably martyred in
the year 312 AD in the persecution under Emperor Maximinus Daia. Most of the text consists of dialogues between
the saint and the local governor of Galatia, Theotecnus. The following is a translation of his passion and martyrdom.
It is an excellent example of late Antique martyrologies. It sheds light on ideas of virtue, holiness and the veneration
of saints from this era. It was translated from Greek on August 28, 2005 by Mark Merlino.
The Feast Day for Saint Theodotus is June 7. He is the patron Saint for Innkeepers.
|The Martyrdom of the Holy Martyr Theodotus
(1) Ancyra, also had other saints bear witness all around it. There was the good Theodotus, who was
given the name, called and became 'God's gift.' As much as Great Clement afterwards, he resisted in the
same place, declaring to tyrants both freely and publicly, that Christ is true God, maker of all, and none
of their punishments would scare him. He advised some of those close to him to flee at the right time and
foresaw them not falling into danger. Not in order to be exalted but to teach, he said to the godless that a
lowly Christian is more powerful than the godless emperors. And some of those having come from the
countryside to him, said that after his martyrdom, his remains would be sent to them. The wicked nobles
of the countryside reported this to the province's governor, Theotecnus, who was the child of a demon.
Immediately, he sent out soldier under him to secure this man.
(2) And so, when God's gift, the good Theodotus, heard these things from someone, thinking ahead, he
found the governor and Theodotus said, "Truly Governor, many of you act in cheap profanity. For
someone who makes war on one of Christ's soldiers sends away the phalanx of soldiers having tested
the armor. And look, I have come to you alone willingly. Governor, I am looking for you. And so, I am
making this offer to you." Then, having become very angry, the accursed ordered that the martyr be
stretched out all the way and that his exhausted tendons be torn to pieces. And so, he received the
torture of his tendons in the way of a snowstorm. Truly, he said nothing but only this, "Sins stretch
behind me in the degree of the lawlessness of these men." So then the governor, having ordered him to
be released, said, "Look Theodotus, only audaciousness has left you earlier. And if you only saw how
much you were avoiding me earlier." He said, "It wasn't audaciousness as you said, but my red-hot
desire for Christ. Were you pleased that he too suffered because of such things? Look I have contempt
for your desire for torture." And Theotecnus said, "You are boasting about these things and Theodotus,
you are carried away with foolishness. But I agree with your punishments, there is agreement that you
have been the gift of the gods." And the saint, "He who wishes, does." He said to him, "Know the power
of Christ, what there will be above for the suffering and torture." Being enraged hearing these things, he
ordered him to be subdued with a stick, scraping down his ribs, scraping them down bitterly. And so,
having been injured. The martyr felt pain breathing. He prayed to God, saying, "My relief, Lord, having
suffered and being caught in torture for you stop the release of human weakness. Lover of Goodness,
give the gift in your holy name so that all know that you alone are the highest, you give strength and
power to those who trust in you."
(3) He was exalted in this way, going down from the wood, he was taken to be returned to prison.
Shouting throughout the marketplace, "Men, look at such great injuries. And the end of the suffering.
For if the king of the earth honours those made men for him, this is change for the better. How by no
means the Immortal One will crown those magnificently bearing witness for his sake and will give them
shares of his kingdom. And bearing witness gushes forth sweetness and the cures of having given
witness." Having said these things, he arrived at prison. At day break, he and five others like him were
brought out for judgment. He said, "Believe me, Theodotus, not wanting to declare a fondness for our
previous rivalry," and released him from punishments. And he said, "I am not thankful to you. I will
believe you because if my body has been worn out by suffering and my ribs are spitting forth blood from
the wounds. But I came vigorously and willingly as I will finish my race and take my reward from
Christ's reward." The unjust one went in front to strike him on his body with stones. "Do not name the
crucified," shouting out "because you defile my court." And the saint, "Fool, blind is your mind and your
desire to see. You come in naming your gods and it doesn't seem to defile your court. And having named
my pure and undefiled God Christ should disturb and anger the all-wretched. But what friend? And the
demons? Who possess the same do this, for not bearing to accept hearing his name, isn't one torturing
those from his sight." He said, "Jesus the Nazarene, for us and for you came here this moment to test
us." And the governor, "I acknowledge Theodotus that you are more suitable for earlier trials. And as
you continue on with the same things, I will make you stiff with new tortures and I will clearly understand
that he in whom you trust will not help you." And the martyr was hung back on the wood and his body
was cruelly struck, receiving wounds upon wounds and blows upon blows. But he was also being mocked
by the wicked. Saying ironically, "Fight Theodotus, since you are receiving the torments in exchange for
greater things." And he said, "If you should see God's gift, having done the same, they are given
retribution for the pain. You have chosen to make me suffer in order to gain such things. And when your
intellect is hardened and you do not want to understand his being exalted, you shall receive Gehenna.
Being in opposition, you are sinning accordingly." And anticipating such things, the governor said to him,
"I can no longer put up with your boldness Theodotus and I am going to make a judgment on you. You
must at least do worship to the gods." And the saint, "You think that I am a fool governor. I said to you
often and promise the contrary, I will not acknowledge the guilt ridden and stupid idols for a demon. Do
then that which you must do."
(4) Then he made his decision about him, that his head should be cut off with a sword. Then you were
taken, o victorious martyr, onto the place of the accomplishment. You departed in a moment of prayer,
took your holy sacrifice and you crossed over to God. The body suffering on earth puts the soul into the
hands of the angels. With salvation having been appointed in this place, the all honourable relics were
transported to a shrine by a man friendly to you. In his presence are great beauty and freshness,
swelling with wonderful springs and cures for all kinds of afflictions. And now, dwelling in heaven and
looking down from heaven at the beautiful works there are in him. And having found his place in a
groove in a tabernacle in the sanctuaries are his most active prayers begging in the chorus of the array
of angels to God. But still, the power from things against the suffering of the unseen enemy come from
the kingdom of God that can be seen in him, the glory, power, both now and forever, for the ages of