SAINT THEODOSIUS of CAPPADOCIA (423-529), abbot
Today, the Church honors Saint Theodosius of Cappadocia, who served the Church as abbot in Palestine and who staunchly defended the truths of the faith, opposing the heresies of his day.
Born to a pious family in the year 423 in Garissus, Cappadocia (modern Turkey), Theodosius began his studies at an early age, and became a lector [Scriptural reader] while still a youth. Following the example of the patriarch Abraham in the Old Testament, Theodosius left home in order to properly follow God’s will for him. He met Saint Simeon Stylites in Antioch; Simeon recognized Theodosius as a holy man and a natural leader, and invited him to remain at his monastery for prayer, blessing, and advice.
Theodosius later departed to live as a hermit in the desert of Judah, living in a cave. Word of his holiness began to attract disciples; and, in order to house them, he built a monastery at Cathismus, an ancient village about 8 miles east of Bethlehem. There were so many seeking spiritual enlightenment that Theodosius created sections in the monastery to house the various nationalities of monks – Greeks, Armenians, Persians, etc. By the grace of God, they all happily worked and prayed together.
Next to the monastery, he built a hospital for the sick, a hospice for the aged, and a mental hospital. Eventually, the Patriarch of Jerusalem appointed Theodosius as abbot to oversee all the various religious communities living in common in Palestine.
Abbot Theodosius is renowned for opposing the heresies of his day, firstly Eutychianism (which stated that Christ’s Natures (Divine and human) were so thoroughly combined – in a sense, scrambled together – that the result was Christ was not truly able to relate to us as a human being), and secondly Monophysitism (which stated that Christ had only one Nature, not two).
Theodosius was sent a large bribe from the emperor, hoping to sway the influential monk to endorse the heresy of Eutychianism. Theodosius, however, distributed the money to the poor, and continued to preach against heretical thinking. Because of his orthodox views, the emperor removed him from his position in the year 513, but he soon resumed his duties under the new emperor, Justinian.
In his old age, Theodosius was stricken with a condition that made his skin dry as stone. He continued to work until his health gave out, and then he spent his last days praying for his community.
Saint Theodosius of Cappadocia died at the age of 105 in the year 529 at Cathismus, and his remains were buried in the cave where he lived as a hermit, a site which became renowned for pilgrimages and miracles.
We commemorate his feastday on January 11.
(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, aquinasandmore.com and catholic.org/saints)
(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Commons for Religious ~ abbot)
“Lord, in Your abbot, Saint Theodosius, You gave an example of the Gospel lived to perfection. Help us to follow him by keeping before us the things of Heaven amid all the changes of the world.
“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”