Theodote and her Children
The holy martyr Theodota and her three young children lived during the reign of the emperor Diocletian (284-305). She was a native of the city of Nicea, Bithynia and renowned for her zealous faith and spiritual and physical beauty. After being widowed at a young age, St Theodote led a pious life dedicated to raising her sons in the Christian Faith, despite offers from many potential suitors. She developed a close spiritual friendship with St Anastasia the Deliverer from Potions (December 22).
When the persecution against Christians began, the holy Theodote was arrested. At her trial, the dignitary Leucadius was captivated by the beautiful Theodoea and he schemed to take her home with him, intending to marry her. Finding herself in the home of Leucadius with her children, St Theodote kept herself in purity, yielding neither to inducements nor charms, nor threats by the pagan.
Angered at the steadfastness of the saint's faith, Leucadius sent her and her children to Bithynia, to the district governor Nicetas. At the interrogation, when the judge began to threaten her with torture, St Theodote’s eldest son Evodus said that Christians do not fear tortures, but rather fear being forsaken by God. They cruelly beat the boy before the eyes of his mother, so that his blood began to flow. Rather than yielding, St Theodote prayed that the Lord would strengthen her son in his sufferings, and rejoiced in that he was being given a martyr’s death for the sake of truth.
Theodote was then given over to the crowds to be defiled, but the Lord preserved her. An angel of the Lord held back everyone who tried to approach the saint. Imputing this miracle to sorcery, the judge sentenced the saint and her children to death by fire.
A church was built in her honor by Justianian I.