His name translates from the Greek as “conscript. He has been called up to serve as a Roman legionary, and he did so with dignity, secretly believing in Christ. One day, as his detachment was staying outside a Roman city, word reached him about a dragon terrorizing its dwellers. Fearlessly, he ventured against the dragon. He resolved to consider his victory as a sign from God to challenge the devil in the spirit. He prayed and fought the devil, arming himself with the sign of the cross. With God’s help, he thrust his sword into the dragon’s head.
Saint Theodore served during the reign of the emperor Maximian, who had launched a bitter persecution of Christians. Every soldier of the Roman Army was expected to worship Pagan gods. When the commander of his detachment commanded him to worship, he exclaimed, “I will not. I am a Christian!”.The memory of God’s help in his victory over the dragon gave him the courage. With his declaration, he inspired the other Christians to come out. After dark, he went to the Pagan temple and burned it down. The temple’s caretaker had recognized him and reported him to the governor. The saint was taken into custody and placed in a solitary cell. In the cell, he refused all food, saying that Christ would feed him. He spent his days singing hymns with the angels, making his guardsmen think that the other Christians had joined him.
Failing to convince Theodore to renounce Christ, the Roman governor ordered his torture. He withstood the most bitter torments with calm and dignity. Fearing that his behavior might embolden other Christians, the governor sentenced him to be burned at the stake. He walked into the fire and surrendered his soul to the Lord. When the fire burned out, his body was found unharmed.
Even after his death, he continued to serve the fellow Christians, delivering them from defilement. In 361, the Byzantine emperor Julian the Apostate, an enemy of Christ, ordered to sprinkle all the food at the market in Constantinople with the blood of animals sacrificed to the Pagan idols. It was the first week of the Great Lent, and Julian’s plan was not to let any Christian evade contact with idolatry. But Saint Theodore appeared in a vision to the Patriarch to warn him about the emperor’s design and instruct him to tell Christians not to buy any food at the market and eat Kolevo instead.
This started the tradition of eating Kolevo as a ritual food during Lent. It is made from boiled wheat grains and is offered in commemoration of the saints and other departed. The grain represents the body, sown corruptible to be raised incorruptible. Sweetened with honey, the food reminds the faithful about the delights of heaven awaiting them in eternity.
On the 7th of August, the Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates the Dormition (or Falling Asleep) feast day of Saint Anna, the mother of Mary and the grandmother of Jesus Christ.
Saints Anthony and Theodosius of the Kiev Caves lived in the 11th century. They are commonly regarded as the founders of monasticism in Ancient Rus’, the cradle of today's Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
The Belarusian Orthodox Church is glorified by the names of many local saints. February 6 is the Feast day of not only the Blessed Xenia of St Petersburg, but also of another prominent saint, almost her contemporary, Blessed Eldress Valentina…
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The spiritual message of the icon revealed itself with time. It promises eventual forgiveness to the Russian people and the return of the supreme power from the Holy Theotokos after a long period of suffering and repentance.
On 28 October, the Orthodox Christians of Belarus commemorate 23 saints martyrs of the Minsk Diocese, glorified in 1999 as locally venerated saints. They suffered from 1917 to 1951, sharing the struggles of our Church in the 20th century.
On the 8th of July, the Orthodox Church celebrates a very special feast — the day of Saint Peter and Fevronia. These two saints from the 13th century are considered the patron saints of family, love, and fidelity.