Sunday, 10 May 2015

St. Theodore (Božidar)

"Icon -- St. Theodore, Soldier and Martyr (Božidar)"
by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2014


Some of you may recall that when my godson's son, Braden was born, I posted both of his given names: first name, Braden, middle name, Božidar.  The name "Braden" is Irish (his father is of Irish heritage). Božidar is a Slavic given name used by Serbian and Croatian peoples (his mother is of Serbian/Croatian heritage) meaning "God's gift". It is a calque of the Greek name Theodore, itself derived from the Greek word "Theodoros".
"Icon--St. Ronàn", by
the hand of Sarah
"Sallie" Thayer, 2014 

So, for some time, I have been planning on "writing" an icon of St. Theodore to give Braden as a special gift.  I kept procrastinating, however, until Braden's brother, Ronàn, was born and I decided that I wanted to "write" an icon for him of his patron, St. Ronàn. [You may recall my posting last year in which I featured the icon -- see right]. Finally, amazingly, I have finished both icons!

Now, let me tell you a bit about St. Theodore (Božidar). There are actually a number of  saints with the name of Theodore in both the Orthodox and Roman Catholic traditions.  I want to tell you a bit about the best known of these: St. Theodore, Soldier and Martyr. 

St. Theodore (
Božidar) is said to have been born in the Near East (Syria or Armenia are mentioned by some writers) some time after 280 A.D. While still very young, he enlisted in the army and was sent with his cohort to winter quarters in Pontus. 

When the fourth and final Diocletian edict against the Christians was issued in 304 A.D., Theodore (Božidar), a Christian, was brought before the Court and asked to offer sacrifice to the gods. Theodore, however, denied the existence of such gods and made a noble profession of his belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. Normally, he would have been condemned to death immediately; however, his judges, apparently, felt pity for Theodore because of he was such a very young man and so gave him some time for reflection.

Theodore (Božidar), however, used this opportunity to burn down the Temple of the goddess, Cybele. After this, he was again taken prisoner and tortured for quite some time before being burned at the stake. His martyrdom occurred in the year 306 A.D. In only 7 more years, Constantine, who became emperor following Diocletian, would issue the Edict of Milan which finally lifted the Roman ban against Christians permanently.

Due to the number of saints bearing the name, Theodore, it is difficult to say, with certainty, the date on which his feast should be celebrated.  The feast days I could locate included September 19th or 20th and November 11.

St. Theodore (Božidar), pray for us.




Much of the information on the life of St. Theodore was taken from the Catholic Encyclopedia.

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BRADEN AND RONÀN 





Braden intently watching everything at the recent Monster Jam
while just about to have some cotton candy for the first time!
(no report yet on whether he liked the candy or not.)




Ronàn's arms are getting stronger and stronger -- soon he will 
be crawling everywhere -- poor mom will be playing "chase the baby" again!




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SUKI AND SALLIE






Suki looking out the window --
just in case a pigeon should fly past!

Let me tell you about my fur stole!

Recently, sometime during the early morning hours when old ladies like myself should be comfortably sleeping, I was awakened out of a terrible dream.

I had gone to bed at the usual time and although it was one of our first warm days, the evening air was cool on my face as I fell asleep.  There was no reason for me to suspect that only a few hours later I would be sweating profusely while fighting for my life!

Of course, the fight for my life wasn't a real fight, but while I was still dreaming it seemed totally real and very frightening.  In the dream, I was being chased by men who, I somehow knew, wanted me dead.  As I ran, I was getting so hot and winded that I knew I had to find some place to hide from them or pass out from exertion. Finally, I saw an open door ahead of me.  Rushing into the darkened room, I quickly shut the door behind me while trying to control my breathing so that it would not be heard by my pursuers.

Suddenly, I heard a loud clicking noise coming from the door and realized, too late, that I had just allowed myself to be locked into this room.  Frantically, I began trying to find another way out, but, in the absolute darkness of this room, all I could find were the walls which seemed to be made of some sort of stone.  

Then, without warning, the lights came on. This was followed almost immediately by the noise of something that sounded like a generator.  The next thing I knew, the room began to fill with steam and I quickly begin to realize that the room, into which I had run in hopes of safety, was actually a sauna or steam room of some sort. As I stood rooted in place, I could see the steam getting ever more dense while the temperature seemed to be increasing rapidly. In that moment, I realized that if I could not find a way out, I was going to die and by the time anyone found me, I would be well-steamed and very dead.

Frantically, I began to pound the walls in a futile effort to break out. There were no windows, of course, and the only door seemed to be the one through which I had entered the room.  As the full reality of my situation hit me, I suddenly found myself feeling extremely angry -- so angry, in fact, that I hurled my body against the door in one last effort to break free.  

The impact in the dream was sufficiently real, I guess, so that I finally woke up only to discover that there was something wrapped around my neck -- something frighteningly hot and heavy.  As I groped with this "thing" in the darkness of my bedroom, I suddenly realized that the thing wrapped around my neck was Suki!

As I began to fully comprehend what had actually been going on, I realized that Suki had somehow gotten herself wrapped around my neck, like a fur stole.  The resulting heat generated by her heavy body lying on top of one of my major arteries had led my poor subconscious to create a dream trying to explain my ever-growing discomfort.  I realized that I had become so, so hot that not only were my p.j.s damp through and through, but my hair was wet with perspiration!   

Shaking my head in disbelief, I grabbed that crazy cat and dumped her, unceremoniously, onto the floor beside the bed and begin a rather lengthy lecture on what can happen to bad cats -- especially very bad cats. Suki observed me for about half a minute, yawned and then headed off towards the kitchen to see if the "food fairy" had visited her food dish in her absence!

By the time I had dried my hair and changed into dry p.j.s, it was almost time to get up.  However, with a few last warning words to Suki, I managed to drift off again for another hour or so.  What a night! What a cat!

Otherwise, the past week has been a quiet one with no medical appointments or special visitors.  Starting this week, however, things will be a bit busier for me and will remain that way for the remainder of the month.

The pain management problems persist, but I am hoping that by the time all these latest tests are completed, the specialist will have a better idea of how to use my pain meds to their best advantage. We'll see.



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SIXTH SUNDAY OF EASTER




"Icon--No Greater Love", by the hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015 rev.

Jesus said to his disciples: “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and your joy might be complete. This is my commandment: love one another as I love you. No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. I no longer call you slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have told you everything I have heard from my Father. It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.”  
John 15:9-17

Christ says that if we keep His commandments, we will remain in His love ... what commandments did He give us?  As you recall, He said that He was giving us a new commandment: 1) love God above all else; and 2) love your neighbour as yourself. I call this "the commandment of love".

Of course, how we put this commandment into daily practice is, has been and will continue to be, a matter of some controversy and, sadly, the conclusions people have often reached about the "how" have been anything but loving.  So, I ask myself, how can I live out this commandment; how can I be that person who dwells always in the Love that is God?

First, I seek to always "keep it simple". In other words, I try not to get tied up in knots over theological niceties but rather attempt to do whatever is most kind, generous, thoughtful and loving and to do, to the best of my ability, whatever will possibly most benefit the "soul" of another person. As well, I always seek to be true to myself and to the Truth, as I understand it -- remembering that my understanding is limited and flawed. Finally, I try to always be mindful that it is not my place to judge or condemn... that is a job for God who is all-knowing Truth and Love.

So, I pray that we may all be granted the wisdom needed to know how best to love one another and ourselves -- how best to serve one another and ourselves. May this wisdom bring us peace and joy as we seek to apply it in our daily lives. 

Amen.   

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