This calendar of saints is drawn from several denominations, sects, and traditions. Although it will no longer be updated daily, the index on the right will guide visitors to a saint celebrated on any day they choose. Additional saints will be added as they present themselves to Major.

Monday, April 22, 2013

April 22 -- Feast of Saint Theodore of Sykeon Part II

baby double for Prince Saint Arwald
There's not much to say about some saints.  Take, for example, little Saint Arwald, who was murdered by King Caedwalla on the day after his baptism.  Caedwalla didn't sail to the Isle of Wight just to kill Arwald, of course.  He iced the whole royal family and a lot of other people who got in the way. 

Little Prince Arwald of the Isle of Wight was lucky, in a way.  Had Caedwalla invaded two days earlier, Arwald would have been consigned to Limbo, or maybe Hell if there is no Limbo, as an unbaptized soul.  A splash of water, a few syllables of Latin, and the sign of the Cross and then the little fella is a saint instead. 

Other saints have such detailed vitae that I can't everything into a single post.  Last year, we left an adolescent Saint Theodore as he walked away from a precipice where the Devil had just tempted him toward his death.  Saint George, whose feast is tomorrow, was young Theodore's personal patron and guardian. 
Go Ted Go!

In spite of his fasting and countless hours of prayer, he became a very fast distance runner.  On occasion, he would win races against horses, but mostly he used his speed to attend evening Mass fifteen miles away and still be home before Midnight. 

Theodore sought the blessing of an old monk named Glycerius.  Apparently collecting blessings from venerables was something aspiring young saints did in those days.  Glycerius suggested that they test their favor with the Lord by praying for an end to the drought.  As they knelt in prayer, clouds rolled up and drenched the land.  This, said the venerable monk, was a sign that God would not refuse a prayer from his servant Theodore. 

holy men and rivers -- but the Ganges is warmer
Ted entered a monastery shortly after that.  His mom used to bring him home-cooked meals, which he gratefully accepted to make her feel good, but then promptly left on a rock behind the monastery for the birds, or wandering travelers, or less mortified monks. Ted's own mortification went further -- on January 6 (Epiphany), he went down to the river and stood all day in the icy water, singing psalms and reading from the prophets.  Icy mud stuck to his feet as he waded ashore at sunset.  He then walked to a crypt under the altar of the monastery chapel and stayed there until Palm Sunday, fasting except for what little fruit or vegetable he took from his grandmother on Saturdays and Sundays. 

The text I used said that the monks all gave thanks that these things were revealed to their Brother Theodore.  I understand that to mean that the monks were grateful that they had not been inspired to do these things.  Nonetheless, Theodore thrived, more or less.   He was seized by an influenza demon, but Saint George exorcised it and then announced that Theodore would thenceforth also have the power to drive out demons.  This was shortly put to the test when a father and son arrived at the monastery seeking exorcism.  Actually, the dad sought exorcism for his son, who wasn't so sure. 

Exorcism -- more than he signed up for
Truth be told, Theodore wasn't sure either, but the old man handed the young saint a whip and told him to start driving.   For two days Theodore whipped the kid raw.  On the third day, the demon howled and raged and said unkind (but true) things about Ted's mom, but eventually he fled in defeat.  Ted looked at the bloody remains of the kid at his feet and wondered if he had killed him, but they picked the boy up, revived him, and nursed him back to health.  Not long after that, Ted decided that the life of a desert hermit might actually be his calling... this monastery business might have played itself out. 

Tune in next year for another installment of Saint Theodore of Sykeon's holy life. 

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