Theodore Stratelates

  • Orthodox/Catholic Remembrance Day: February 7
  • Name means: God’s gift (Greek)
  • Martyr
  • Attributes: as a soldier with tank, shield and lance; Crocodile
  • Born in Euchaneia, today Çorum near Amasya, Turkey
  • Died on 8 February 319 in Heraklea am Pontus, today Ereğli on the Black Sea, Turkey

 

According to tradition from the 9th century, Theodore was a stratelate, i.e. the commander of a Roman garrison in Heraklea – today’s Ereğli – and secretly a Christian. Emperor Licinius came to a victory celebration where many golden statues of pagan gods were erected. Theodore broke them into pieces that he distributed to his arms, revealed himself to Licinius as a Christian and advertised to him that he should be converted. He had him whipped with over a thousand blows, nailed to a cross and shot with arrows, and finally beheaded with the sword. This is how the alleged eyewitness Augarus told it in the story of suffering he wrote.

Theodore Stratelates was venerated in Euchanei, a city that was often mistaken for Euchaïta – today’s Beyözü near Amasya – after the victory of the Byzantines over Svjatoslav of Kiev in 971, this city was renamed Theodorupolis in his honor. Since 1166, the feast day of the soldiers was Theodore’s half-day in Byzantium. As a result, the tradition of Theodor Stratelates was combined with that of Theodor Tiro, the Catholic Church venerates them in one person.