So they simply bound him with his hands behind him like a distinguished ram chosen from a great flock for sacrifice. Ready to be an acceptable burnt-offering to God, he looked up to heaven, and said, “O Lord God Almighty, the Father of your beloved and blessed Son Jesus Christ, by whom we have received the knowledge of you, the God of angels, powers and every creature, and of all the righteous who live before you, I give you thanks that you count me worthy to be numbered among your martyrs, sharing the cup of Christ and the resurrection to eternal life, both of soul and body, through the immortality of the Holy Spirit. May I be received this day as an acceptable sacrifice, as you, the true God, have predestined, revealed to me, and now fulfilled. I praise you for all these things, I bless you and glorify you, along with the everlasting Jesus Christ, your beloved Son. To you, with him, through the Holy Spirit, be glory both now and forever. Amen.” Then the fire was lit, and the flame blazed furiously. We who were privileged to witness it saw a great miracle, and this is why we have been preserved, to tell the story. The fire shaped itself into the form of an arch, like the sail of a ship when filled with the wind, and formed a circle around the body of the martyr. Inside it, he looked not like flesh that is burnt, but like bread that is baked, or gold and silver glowing in a furnace. And we smelt a sweet scent, like frankincense or some such precious spices. (Martyrdom of Polycarp:14-15)
Your name denotes it, and truly You are a gift from God, and you were given as comfort to all who are in trouble, O thrice-blessed Theodore. For everyone who comes in truth to your holy church, and who with gladness receives the divine rewards of your miracles, gives honor to Christ (Laud of Festal Matins).
Magnificent are the accomplishments of faith! The holy Martyr Theodore greatly rejoiced as he stood in the fountain of fire as if beside the still waters. He was consumed by fire and offered like sweet bread to the Trinity. At his entreaties, O Christ God, save our souls. (Festal Apolytikion)
A graduate of Long Island University, College of Pharmacy, and Saint Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, John works to share the richness and beauty of the Orthodox Faith with the wider community.
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