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St. Theophano, Empress of Byzantium


Commemorated on December 15

The Holy Empress Theophano was the first wife of Emperor Leo VI the Wise (886-911). She and her husband were imprisoned for three years because Leo was falsely accused of intending to assassinate his father. After receiving her freedom, Theophano spent her life in prayer and fasting, earnestly struggling for her salvation.

Living in the world, she renounced everything worldly. She was a benefactor to the poor, and was generous toward monasteries. She was a true mother to her subjects, caring for widows and orphans, and consoling the sorrowful. She entered into the Heavenly Kingdom in 893 or 894.

Even before her death, her husband started to build a church, intending to dedicate it to Theophano, but she forbade him to do so. It was this emperor who decreed that the Sunday after Pentecost be dedicated to All Saints. Believing that his wife was one of the righteous, he knew that she would also be honored whenever the Feast of All Saints was celebrated.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (