Commemorated on July 29 (also on December 22)
St. Theodota and her three sons lived during the reign of Emperor Diocletian in the fourth century. She was a Christian and a native of the city of Nicea, Bithynia. After being widowed, St. Theodota led a pious life and raised her sons in the Christian Faith. She had a spiritual friendship with St. Anastasia.
When the persecution against Christians began, they arrested Theodota. At the trial, Governor Leucadius was captivated by her beauty and decided to take her home with him, intending to marry her. Finding herself in the home of Leucadius with her children, St. Theodota maintained her purity, yielding neither to inducements nor charms, nor threats by the pagan.
Angered at Theodota’s steadfastness, Leucadius ordered that Theodota and her children be sent to Bithynia for trial. At their interrogation, when the judge began to threaten her with torture, St. Theodota’s eldest son, Evodus, announced that Christians did not fear tortures, but rather feared being forsaken by God.
The boy was cruelly beaten before the eyes of his mother, so that his blood began to flow across the stones. St. Theodota prayed that the Lord would strengthen her son in his sufferings, and rejoiced in that he was being given a martyr’s death for the sake of truth.
St. Theodota was given over to be defiled, but the Lord preserved her. An angel held back everyone who tried to approach her. Explaining this miracle to sorcery, the judge sentenced the saint and her children to death by fire.
The memory of the holy Martyrs Theodota, the child Evodus and her other two small sons is celebrated also on December 22, together with the memory of St. Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions.
Troparion (Tone 4) –
Your lamb Theodota, O Jesus,
Calls out to You in a loud voice:
I love You, O my bridegroom,
And in seeking You, I endure suffering.
In Baptism I was crucified so that I might reign in You,
And died so that I might live with You.
Accept me as a pure sacrifice,
For I have offered myself in love.
By her prayers save our souls, since You are merciful.
By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (www.oca.org )