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St. Theodora, Wife of Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast


Commemorated on February 11

Holy Empress Theodora was the wife of Byzantine Emperor Theophilus the Iconoclast (829-842), but she did not share in the heresy of her husband and secretly venerated the holy icons. After the death of her husband, St. Theodora governed the realm since her son, Michael, who was a minor.

She convened a Council, at which the Iconoclasts were eliminated, and the veneration of icons was reinstated. St. Theodora established the annual celebration of this event, the Triumph of Orthodoxy, on the first Sunday of the Great Fast. St. Theodora did much for the Holy Church and fostered a firm devotion to Orthodoxy in her son, Michael.

When Michael came of age, St. Theodora retired and spent eight years in the monastery of St. Euphrosyne, where she devoted herself to ascetic struggles and reading books that nourished her soul. A copy of the Gospels, written in her own hand, is known to exist.

She died peacefully around the year 867. In 1460, her relics were given by the Turks to the people of Kephalonia.

By permission of the Orthodox Church in America (