Byzantium
Saint Theodora of Kaisaris
Mark Merlino - Home page
The following is the life of Saint Theodora of Kaisaris. The Greek original text can be found in the SyntaxCP
(Synaxarium Ecclesiae Constantinopolitanae, 1902) 354-356. As well, an on-line version of this text is made
available in the
Dumbarton Oaks Hagiography Database. This 'Life' relates the story of Theodora's life c.700-c.750
AD, during the reign of iconoclastic emperor Leo III. The text was probably written some time between the year
750 AD and 1000 AD. This is a good example of Middle Byzantine Hagiography and it gives some indications of
general values and ascetic practices from the time. The translation was completed by Mark Merlino, October 16,
2005.

The Feast Day for Saint Theodora of Kaisaris is December 29.   
On the same day is the remembrance of our pious mother Theodora, who was from Kaisaris. She trained
in the monastery of Saint Anne, which is called Rhigidion and she entered in the time of Emperor Leo,
father of Constantine Copronymus. She was the child of a brilliant and distinguished father named
Theophilos, having the rank of patrikios, and of a mother Theodora. This Theodora, among many in her
kin, was barren. Lamenting bitterly, she prayed to God and the most holy Theotokos, kindly receiving
grace from heaven from blessed Anne, mother of the Theotokos. Then, having produced a daughter,
when she came of age, she was taken to the shrine of Saint Anne and was admitted to the monastery as
an offering to God. And praying to God that she will be ordered following the rules, she was thoroughly
taught sacred scripture. And so, the child was governed well.

An evil demon, who did not suffer to see her, was trampled by her but also cast out. The Emperor Leo
who was battling against God, married her to be wife for his son Christopher, who he had made Caesar.
And having dragged her away by force and tyranny from her home, being confined, she was held in
Constantinople. And having taken her, he prepared a chamber in order to fulfill the happiness of marriage
with her. But at that time, such a thing happened. God who had frightened the ancient Egyptian,
struggling against him, raged fury down on Sarras and Tiridati under Ripsimia. He brought her to safety
undefiled from her suffering and from intercourse with her bridegroom. For, the Scyths had been
unexpectedly campaigning in the West. In haste, the newly married man was sent to make a stand against
the barbarians. He was sent to his death on the first assault. Then, the pure lamb Theodora, escaping
everything, having taken gold, silver, pearls, and most expensive clothing, got into a ship. She returned to
the monastery rejoicing and giving thanks to the God of all.

And them having learned these things about her, the second son of the one called a beast (Thyronymus)
came and finding her exhausted, wearing torn clothes, and thinking about the service of God, he set her
free. And she, without a blemish, taking freedom, subduing flesh with such greatness, just as the harmony
of her bones is visible. For her food was a single loaf and this for two and three days and never otherwise.
And the clothes she wore were from hair. Her mattress was hair on torn cloth and she lay down on stone.
Thus, she managed to achieve a restless sleep many times and through her suffering in the night was
watchful. She did not struggle with these things alone but had wrapped her body in iron, so that her
worries were wasted just like a bad smelling odour was given off from them. Thus, with such greatness,
this one, having distinguished in the manner of so many of so many virtues, she grew to an old age and a
long life.