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St. Theodosius

Name: St. Theodosius
Date: 11 January

Saint Theodosius was born in Cappadocia in 423. He desired to visit the Holy Places, and on hisway visited Saint Simeon Stylites to ask his counsel. Simeon perceived him amid the crowd andcalled him by his name: “Theodosius, servant of God, you are welcome.” His desire to followJesus Christ attracted him to the religious life. He placed himself under Longinus, a very holyhermit, who sent him to govern a monastery near Bethlehem. Unable to bring himself to commandothers, he fled to a cavern, where he lived in penance and prayer. His great charity, however,forbade him to refuse the charge of some disciples, who, few at first, became in time a vastnumber; and Theodosius built a large monastery and three churches for them.

The holy monk eventually was named by the Bishop of Jerusalem Superior of all the religiouscommunities of Palestine. He and Saint Sabas, who had been appointed by Sallustus, the samebishop, to preside the Palestinian hermits, often consulted together on subjects of piety andedification and the means to procure the glory of God. Saint Theodosius accommodated himselfso carefully to the characters of his subjects that his reproofs were loved rather than dreaded. Buton one occasion he was obliged to put away from the communion of the others a religious guiltyof a grave fault. Instead of humbly accepting his sentence, the monk was arrogant enough toallege to excommunicate Theodosius in revenge. Theodosius thought not of indignation, nor ofhis own position, but meekly submitted to this false and unjust excommunication. This so touchedthe heart of his disciple that he submitted at once and acknowledged his fault.

Theodosius never refused assistance to any in poverty or affliction; on some days the monks laidmore than a hundred tables for those in need. In times of famine Theodosius forbade their alms tobe diminished, and often miraculously multiplied the provisions. He built five hospitals, in whichhe lovingly served the sick, while by assiduous spiritual reading he maintained himself in perfectrecollection. He successfully opposed the Eutychian heresy in Jerusalem and all of Palestine, andfor this was banished by the emperor Anastasius. His exile lasted but a short time, for the emperorwho sustained the heretics died soon afterwards, struck by lightning.

The holy abbot suffered a long and painful illness and refused to pray to be cured, calling it asalutary penance for his former successes. He died at the age of a hundred and six.

Source: Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints

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