St. Theodore the Studite: 11th-century mosaic from Nea Moni Monastery, Chios.

Today we commemorate our Father among the Saints Theodore the Studite, my son’s Patron Saint. St. Theodore was a fervent zealot for the traditions of the Fathers and contested even unto death for the sake of his reverence for the holy icons. He endured three exiles because of his pious zeal. During the third one, to which he was condemned by the Iconoclast ruler, Leo the Armenian, he endured courageously – being beaten and bound and led from one dark dungeon to another – for seven whole years. Finally he was recalled from exile by Michael the Stutterer. Receiving a small respite from his labours of long endurance, he reposed in the Lord on November 11, 826, a Sunday, while his disciples, who stood round about him, chanted the 118th Psalm. Some say that after receiving the immaculate Mysteries, he himself began chanting this psalm. And on reaching the verse, ‘ I will never forget Thy statutes, for in them hast Thou quickened me” (Ps. 118:93, LXX), he gave up his spirit, having lived for sixty-seven years. In addition to his other sacred writings, he composed, with the collaboration of his brother Joseph, almost the whole of the Lenten Triodion.

“Why do we allow love of pleasure to conquer us, to so debase us, and by such deviations to cause us who, brought low to the earth, to flesh and blood, to be completely alienated from our Most Good God? Let us flee, brothers, from all the passions. Let us flee love of money, which is the root of all evil; let us flee every other passion that enslaves our soul — anger, envy, hatred, vanity, self-will; so that death may not find us unprepared and distance us from God. Alienation from God is alienation also from the Kingdom of Heaven. Condemnation and punishment will come to those who do not do works pleasing to God. There is no flesh that can endure this condemnation, for the mere thought of it, even before consignment to torments, is already a torment. (…)

Let us begin unfailingly to please God, to purify ourselves, and renew our souls. Take courage: ‘The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon Him, to all that call on Him in truth’ (Ps. 144:19). Let us repent daily, and God will forgive us our sins, comfort us, and grant us eternal life — which may we receive in Christ the Lord Himself.”

– St. Theodore the Studite