St. Theodore Stratelates
also known as Theodore of Heraclea
Feast day: February 7
Patron of soldiers
Roman general and martyr. Surnamed Stratelates , he supposedly served in the army of Emperor Licinius Licinianus (r. 308-324) until the decision by that ruler to end the toleration of Christians in the lands under his rule. At the command of the emperor, he was tortured and either beheaded or crucified. Theodore is much venerated by the Orthodox Greek Church. Lie is also called Theodore of Heraclea.
Theodore lived in Heraclea and was a general (stratelates) commanding one of the armies of the Emperor Licinius and governor of Pontus. A man of great political influence, Theodore also governed part of Licinius's territory.
His fellow-soldiers realized that their general had embraced the Christian faith when he refused to join them in pagan worship. For this the general was tortured by those he had once loyally served, and was then let out of prison on remand.
He showed his scorn for the idol worshippers by setting fire to a temple dedicated to the goddess Cybele at Amasea in Pontus. The authorities lost no time in throwing him back into prison and again torturing him. The general was comforted by a vision of heaven, before perishing in a furnace. He was buried at Euchaita and is revered by the Eastern Church as a great soldier-saint.
He is probably identical with Theodore Tyro of Amasea, whose later legends became so contradictory and complicated by incredible embroideries that this one was invented to account for the differences. The stratelates is one of the four soldiers honored by the Greeks as a megolomartyr