January 11: St. Theodosius
Theodosius was born in Asia Minor in 423. As a young man, he set out on pilgrimage to the Holy Land. People say he was inspired by Abraham's journey of faith recorded in the Bible's book of Genesis.
After visiting the holy places, he decided to lead a life of prayer. He asked the guidance of a holy man named Longinus. Soon people realized how holy Theodosius himself was. Many men asked to join him. They, too, wanted to be monks.
Theodosius built a large monastery at Cathismus, near Bethlehem. Before long, it was filled with monks from Greece, Armenia, Arabia, Persia and the Slavic countries. Eventually, it grew into a "little city." One building was for sick people, one for the elderly and one for the poor and homeless.
Theodosius was always generous. He fed an endless stream of poor people. Sometimes it seemed like there would not be enough food for the monks. But Theodosius had great trust in God. He never turned travelers away, even when food was scarce. The monastery was a very peaceful place. The monks lived in silence and prayer. It was going so well that the patriarch of Jerusalem appointed Theodosius head of all the monks in the east.
Theodosius died in 529 at the age of 106. The patriarch of Jerusalem and many people attended his funeral. Theodosius was buried where he had first lived as a monk. It was called the Cave of the Magi. The cave received its name from people who believed that the Wise Men had stayed there when they came in search of Jesus.
Although the work of Theodosius started small, his goodness soon caught the attention of others who wanted to serve God.