St. Theodota at Nicea


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Commemorated on September 17

The Holy Martyr Theodota, a native of Cappadocia, suffered in the city of Nicea during the reign of Emperor Alexander Severus (222-235). Governor Symblicius was told that a rich woman named Theodota was confessing Christ. Summoning her, he urged her to turn from the true Faith. Seeing the futility of his attempts, he gave Theodota over to torture. They suspended her and began to rake her with iron hooks, but she did not feel any pain. They then put her in chains and led her away to a prison cell.

After eight days, upon leading her to new tortures, only faint traces of the tortures already endured remained on her body. The governor was amazed and asked, “Who are you?” The saint answered, “Your mind is darkened, but if you were sober, then you would have realized that I am Theodota.”

Governor Symblicius commanded the martyr be cast into a red-hot furnace. Flames shot out and scorched those standing nearby, while those remaining unharmed shut the furnace and fled. Pagan priests opened the furnace to scatter the ashes of the martyr, but they too were burned by the flames. Those remaining saw St. Theodota unhurt, standing in the midst of the flames between two youths in white and glorifying the Lord. This apparition so terrified the pagans that they fell down as if dead. St. Theodota was thereafter ordered back to prison.

The invincibility of the martyr gave Governor Symblicius no peace. He traveled to Byzantium, and on the return trip stopped at Ancyra to again order the torture of Theodota. He demanded that she be thrown into red-hot iron, but again she remained unharmed. He gave orders that she be taken to Nicea where, in a pagan temple, she should offer sacrifice to the idols. But St. Theodota prayed, and the idols fell and were shattered. The outraged governor gave orders to stretch her out and saw through her body, but again the power of God preserved her, with the saw causing Theodota no harm. Finally, St. Theodota was beheaded. Bishop Sophronius of Nicea buried her body.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org)