Byzantine Saint Stories for Little Ones: Theodora and Didymus – Feast Day May 27
Theodora was a young woman who wanted more than anything to be a nun. At that time, it was illegal to be a nun, and even to be a Christian. Trying to get her to deny her faith, the authorities forced her to go to an evil place where women were abused by men. There was a competition among many sinful men to hurt her first. One good man, a young soldier named Didymus, thought of a way to save her. He pretended that he was going to hurt her, but when the other men weren’t looking, he switched clothes with her and so allowed her to walk out disguised as him. When Didymus was found wearing her clothes, and the evil men realized they had been deceived, they wanted to kill him. Before they could, Theodora found him, thanked him, and tried to convince him to let her die in his place. He refused, wanting to protect her, and give his life as Christ did. She wanted the same. They both ended up dying martyrs, rejoicing that they could give their lives together as brother and sister in Christ.
Holy Martyrs Theodora and Didymus (304)
“In the reign of the wicked Emperor Maximilian, there lived in Alexandria a maiden, Theodora, well-educated and of noble lineage. She was brought to trial before the pagans for her Christian faith. After long interrogation and torture for the Faith, the prince, her tormentor, ordered that she be thrown into a brothel and the soldiers given free access to her to indulge their carnal lusts. Theodora prayed fervently to God to save her from defilement, and, when she had prayed, a soldier called Didymus came in to her and told her that he was a servant of Christ. He dressed her in his soldier’s garb and himself in her dress, then let her out and remained in the brothel himself. He was seized and brought before the judge, where he acknowledged that he was a Christian and had saved Theodora, and was now prepared to die for Christ. He was condemned to death and taken out to the place of execution. Theodora ran up to him there and cried out: ‘Although you saved my honour, I did not ask you to save me from death. Yield the martyr’s death to me!’ Didymus replied: ‘My beloved sister, do not hinder my death for Christ, nor the washing of my sins in my blood.’ Hearing this exchange, the pagans condemned them both to death, and they were beheaded and their bodies burned. They suffered with honour and received eternal wreaths of glory in Alexandria in the year 304.” – From the Prologue of Ohrid
Thursday, May 27 –