Commemorated on September 11
Theodora was from Alexandria and the wife of a young man. Persuaded by a fortune-teller, she committed adultery with another man and immediately felt the bitter pangs of conscience. She cut her hair, dressed in men’s clothing and entered the Monastery of Octodecatos, under the male name of Theodore.
Her labor, fasting, vigilance, humbleness and tearful repentance amazed the entire brotherhood. When a promiscuous young woman slandered her, saying that Theodore had made her pregnant, Theodora did not want to justify herself, but considered this slander as a punishment from God for her earlier sin.
Banished from the monastery, she spent seven years living in the forest and wilderness and, in addition, caring for the child of that promiscuous girl. She overcame all diabolical temptations: she refused to worship Satan, refused to accept food from the hands of a soldier and refused to heed the pleas of her husband to return to him – for all of this was only a diabolical illusion, and as soon as Theodora made the sign of the Cross everything vanished as smoke.
After seven years, the abbot received her back into the monastery, where she lived for two more years and reposed in the Lord. Only then did the monks learn that she was a woman; an angel appeared to the abbot and explained everything to him.
Her husband came to the burial, and then remained in the cell of his former wife until his repose. St. Theodora possessed much grace from God: she tamed wild beasts, healed infirmities and brought forth water from a dry well.
Thus, God glorified a true penitent, who with heroic patience repented nine years for just one sin. She reposed in the year 490.
Saint Theodora pray for us!
Troparion & Kontakion
Troparion — Tone 4
You offered your life as a holy gift, O righteous Theodora, / for resplendent with the light of repentance, you illumined mankind. / Now pray to Christ who has magnified you to grant us his great mercy!
Troparion — Tone 8
The image of God was truly preserved in you, O Mother, / for you took up the Cross and followed Christ. / By so doing you taught us to disregard the flesh for it passes away / but to care instead for the soul, since it is immortal. / Therefore your spirit, venerable Theodora, rejoices with the angels.
Kontakion — Tone 2
You depleted your bodily strength by fasting, vigil, and prayers, / entreating the Creator to grant forgiveness of your sin; / having received it, you showed us the way of repentance, / venerable Mother Theodora.