Feast of St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch (January 10)   Leave a comment

Above:  St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch

Image in the Public Domain

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SAINT THEODOSIUS THE CENOBIARCH (423-529)

Roman Catholic Monk, Humanitarian, and Mystic

Today I add St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch to my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints and shift it one day, from January 11 to January 10, for I have booked January 11 fully already.

St. Theodosius entered the world in Cappodocia, in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) in 423, give or take a year.  Immersed in the Scriptures, the young Theodosius derived inspiration from Abraham and resolved to live by faith.  He undertook pilgrimages to sacred places in the Holy Land before deciding to devote his life to prayer.  By the time Theodosius became a monk, the holiness of his life had made him a magnet for seekers of God.  Many of these men became fellow monks with him at Cathismus, near Bethlehem.

Other monks from far and wide settled at Cathismus and joined the communal life there.  (The label “Cenobiarch” denotes one who leads those who partake of communal life.)  The saint and his fellow monks built a small city that included a hospital, a homeless shelter, and a home for the elderly.  They shared what they had, no matter little it was, with anyone who asked, and never turned anyone away.  This is the most impressive aspect of the saint’s life.

But Theodosius desired solitude with God.  (This is impressive, too.)  So he moved into a cave in which, according to tradition, the Magi had spent a night.  There, for years, the saint practiced asceticism, something which does not interest me.  Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox calendars of saints are replete with ascetics, but I do not consider asceticism a surpassing virtue.  The point, however, is that the saint sought God and harmed no one in the process.  In fact, his example inspired others, so he helped them.  That is a virtue.

There were also many accounts of St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch performing miracles, but I do not believe any of them.  I am, to a great extent, a product of the Enlightenment, without apology.

Anyhow, the life of St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch continues to shine as an example of Christian love, devotion to prayer, and concern for one’s fellow human beings.  These are virtues that each of us must exhibit with our lives if we are to follow Jesus.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

DECEMBER 10, 2010 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THOMAS MERTON, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MONK

THE FEAST OF KARL BARTH, SWISS REFORMED THEOLOGIAN

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O God, whose blessed Son became poor that we through his poverty might be rich:  Deliver us from an inordinate love of this world, that we, inspired, by the devotion of your servant St. Theodosius the Cenobiarch, may serve you with singleness of heart, and attain to the riches of the age to come; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

Song of Songs 8:6-7

Psalm 34 or 34:1-8

Philippians 3:7-15

Luke 12:33-37 or Luke 9:57-62

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 722

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Revised on November 14, 2016

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