Saint Theodosius the Great is considered the founding father of Cenobitic Monasticism (monks living a common life together) and is thus given the epithet of Cenobiarch. Born in Cappadocia to pious parents, Theodosius spent much time in church reading and chanting as the Lord had endowed him with an angelic voice. Praying that he might find the way to salvation, Theodosius visited the Holy Lands and met Saint Simeon the Stylite who prophesied his future in pastoral service. Longing for the solitary life of a monk, Theodosius settled into a deserted cave in Palestine, the same cave in which the Three Magi had spent the night after having come to worship the new born Christ. Having dwelt in this cave for thirty years in strict asceticism and unceasing prayer, many people began to flock to the Saint for spiritual guidance. He accepted them as his fellow monks and when the cave became too small to house them all, Theodosius, through divine inspiration, did the following. Carrying with him only a small censer with an unlit charcoal and incense, he ventured out into the desert while praying. At a certain spot in the desert, the charcoal ignited itself and the incense smoke began to rise. On this spot is where Saint Theodosius established the first cenobitic monastery where all the monks (numbering up to 700) lived a common life. Not only did the monastery house the monks, but it also served the poor and wanderers. One time, there was a severe famine in Palestine and Saint Theodosius opened the monastery to all. Knowing that the monastery could not provide for all the people, the monks started to complain, however through the prayers of Saint Theodosius, the bread house was full every time they went in. As well as his hospitality, Saint Theodosius fought valiantly against various heresies, anathematising those who did not heed the first four Ecumenical Councils (the fourth being the most recent). Saint Theodosius performed many miracles during his life and prophesied many things. At the age of 105, the blessed elder reposed in the Lord.
Ἦχος πλάγιος α’. Τὸν συνάναρχον Λόγον.
Ἀρεταὶς θεοσδότοις ἐκλάμψας ὅσιε, Μοναστικῆς πολιτείας ὤφθης λαμπρὸς χαρακτήρ, καὶ φωστὴρ θεοειδὴς Πάτερ καὶ ἔξαρχος, Θεοδόσιε σοφέ, τῶν Ἀγγέλων μιμητά, θεράπων ὁ τῆς Τριάδος ἣν ἐκδυσώπει ἀπαύστως,ἐλεηθήναι τᾶς ψυχᾶς ἠμῶν.
Ἦχος πλ. δ’ – Τῇ ὑπερμάχῳ
Πεφυτευμένος ἐν αὐλαῖς ταῖς τοῦ Κυρίου σου, τάς σάς ὁσίας ἀρετάς τερπνῶς ἐξήνθησας, καί ἐπλήθυνας τά τέκνα σου ἐν ἐρήμῳ, τῶν δακρύων σου τοῖς ὄμβροις ἀρδευόμενα, ἀγελάρχα τῶν Θεοῦ θείων ἐπαύλεων· ὅθεν κράζομεν· Χαίροις Πάτερ Θεοδόσιε.
Troparion — Tone 8
With the river of thy tears thou hast made the barren desert fertile, and with the sighs of sorrow from thy heart thou hast made thy labours to bear fruit a hundredfold. With the glory of thy miracles thou hast become a light to the inhabited earth. O Theodosius our holy father, pray to Christ our God for the salvation of our souls.
Kontakion — Tone 8
Planted in the courts of your Lord, you blossomed beautifully with virtue, / and increased your children in the desert, showering them with streams of your tears, / O chief shepherd of the divine flock of God. / Therefore, we cry to you: “Rejoice, Father Theodosius.”