Saint Theodore's Day

St. Theodore's Day at Chelopech

Saint Theodore's Day is a religious holiday celebrated on the first Saturday of the Great Lent. On this day as well as on February 17, the Orthodox Church celebrates the memory of Theodore Tyron. Veneration of St. Theodor is witnessed since in the early centuries.


In the times of Christian persecution, Julian the Apostate (332 -- 363) continued to pursue a reinstatement of Paganism. Knowing that forty days before Easter the Christian would follow a strict lent, he decided to deride them and force them to eat food that is used in idolatry sacrifice. Julian ordered the commander of the city of Constantinople to secretly sprinkle all meatless foods on the market with blood used in pagan sacrificial rituals so that the Christians unwittingly to disgrace themselves and be humiliated.

In the Eastern church, St Theodore of Amasea is celebrated on 8 February[1] or on 17 February[2] or on the 1st Saturday in Lent. In the western church, his date was 9 November, but after the Second Vatican Council and since 1969, he is no longer liturgically celebrated except in certain local calendars.[3]

Relics of the saint were widely distributed. In the 12th century, his body was said to have been transferred to Brindisi, and he is there honored as patron; his head is said to be enshrined at Gaeta.

His encounter with a dragon was transferred to the more-widely venerated Saint George.[4]

Further readingEdit

Books mentioned

  • The Book of Saints (a dictionary of servants of God canonised by the Catholic Church) compiled by the Benedictine monks of St Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate (6th edition, revised & rest, 1989).
  • Butler's Lives of the Saints (originally compiled by the Revd Alban Butler 1756/59), Vol II (February) and XI (November), 1926/38 revised edition, 1995 new full edition.
  • Delaney, John J: Dictionary of Saints (1982).
  • Hippolyte Delehaye: Les Legendes Grecques des Saints Militaires (Paris 1909).
  • Demus, Otto: The Church of San Marco in Venice (Washington 1960).
  • Demus, Otto: The Mosaics of San Marco in Venice (4 volumes) 1 The Eleventh & Twelfth Centuries - Text (1984).
  • Farmer, David: The Oxford Dictionary of Saints (4th edition, 1997).
  • Grotowski, Piotr L.: Arms and armour of the warrior saints: tradition & innovation in Byzantine iconography (843-1261) (Leiden: Brill, 2010).
  • The Oxford Companion to the Year (by Bonnie Blackburn & Leofranc Holford-Stevens) (Oxford 1999).
  • Walter, Christopher: The Warrior Saints in Byzantine Art and Tradition (2003)


  • B. Fourlas, "Eine frühbyzantinische Silberschale mit der Darstellung des heiligen Theodor", Jahrbuch des Römisch-Germanischen Zentralmuseums Mainz 55, 2008 [2011], pp. 483–528 (on the iconography before iconoclasm).


  1. ^ Byzantine calendar (Slavonic usage) see Delaney p.642
  2. ^ Oxford Companion to the Year, 1999, pp.82 & 642: This refers to him as Theodore the Recruit under 17 February and ads that "promoted to general (stratelates) he is also venerated on the 7th or 8th February".
  3. ^ Delaney pp.622 & 636.
  4. ^ Duncan Robertson, The Medieval Saints' Lives: Spiritual Renewal and Old French Literature., pp.51-52, and others.