ST. THEODOSIUS the GREAT of PALESTINE

ST. THEODOSIUS the GREAT of PALESTINEWhen he reached Aleppo, he visited Saint Symeon the Stylite, to ask for his prayers and blessing. Saint Symeon embraced him with his blessing and prophesied great spiritual glory for Theodosius.

When Theodosius reached Jerusalem he spent time venerating the Holy Places. There he decided to devote himself to prayer, self-discipline and fasting and settled with a known hermit near the Tower of David.  To better dedicate himself to God, he moved to an isolated cave near Bethlehem that tradition holds was the cave where the Magi spent the night after they had worshiped the newborn Christ child and where the angel of the Lord warned them of Herod's treachery.  While dwelling in the cave he prayed at all times and even stood through the night in prayer. He ate only enough so that he would not fall ill.  He ate only dates, carob, vegetables and legumes.

Theodosius formed a small community of monks near Bethlehem who constructed a monastery which soon attracted up to 700 monks from numerous nationalities and languages including Greek, Georgian, Latin, Armenian, Syriac and Coptic. St. Theodosius instructed his priest monks to offer liturgical services in these languages in separate chapels and then for all the monks to assemble in the main church for the reception of the Holy Eucharist.  The monks operated a school, a hospital, an inn for pilgrims and travelers, a home for the aged and poor and a hospice for the dying. St. Theodosius became the spiritual father of all monks who lived in community. This is the origin of his being called “the Cenobiarch”, which translates as chief of those living a life in common.  He instilled in his monks the virtue of compassion through their service to the destitute.  Saint Theodosius died near Jerusalem, at about 105 years old.  His monastery was eventually named after him and it is a place of pilgrimage to this day.  

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