St. Theodore came from Egypt and was the son of rich and illustrious Christian parents. The yearning for monastic life appeared early in him. Once there was a large party at the house of his parents during the feast of Theophany. The boy did not want to take part in the festivities, grieving that because of earthly joys he might be deprived of joys in the life to come. He secretly left home when he was fourteen and entered one of the monasteries.
Hearing about Pachomius the Great, he burned with the desire to see the ascetic. St. Pachomius received the young man with love, having been informed by God beforehand about his coming. Remaining at the monastery, St. Theodore quickly succeeded in all his monastic tasks, particularly in the full obedience to his guide, and in his compassion towards the other brethren. Theodore's mother, learning that he was at the Tabennisi monastery, came to St. Pachomius with a letter from the bishop, asking to see her son. St. Theodore did not wish to break his vow to renounce the world, so he refused to meet with his mother.
Seeing St. Theodore's strength of mind and ability, St. Pachomius once told him to instruct the brethren on Holy Scripture. St. Theodore was then only twenty years old. He obeyed and began to speak, but some of the older brethren took offense that a new monk should teach them, and they departed. St. Pachomius said to them, "You have given in to the devil and because of your conceit, your efforts will come to naught. You have not rejected Theodore, but rather the Word of God, and have deprived yourselves of the Holy Spirit."
St. Pachomius appointed St. Theodore as overseer of the Tabennisi monastery, and withdrew to a more solitary monastery. St. Theodore with filial love continued to concern himself over his instructor, and he looked after St. Pachomius in his final illness, and when the great abba reposed in the Lord, he closed his eyes. After the death of St. Pachomius, St. Theodore directed the Tabennisi monastery, and later on he was at the head of all the Thebaid monasteries. St. Theodore the Sanctified was famed for his holiness of life and a great gift of wonderworking, and he was well known to St. Athanasius, Patriarch of Alexandria. St. Theodore reposed in his old age in the year 368, and his feast day is celebrated on May 16.
Troparion: (First Tone)
- Dweller of the desert and angel in the body,
- you were shown to be a wonder-worker, our God-bearing Father Theodore.
- You received heavenly gifts through fasting, vigil, and prayer:
- healing the sick and the souls of those drawn to you by faith.
- Glory to Him who gave you strength!
- Glory to Him who granted granted you a crown!
- Glory to Him who through you grants healing to all!
Kontakion: (Second Tone)
- You flourished like a palm tree in the house of God,
- bringing forth the fruit of virtues for the Lord through your ascetic efforts.
- Therefore, you are called blest, venerable Father Theodore,
- for you are equal to the bodiless ones!