Theodora (d. 304)

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Theodora (d. 304)

Saint. Name variations: Saint Theodora. Died in 304.

Tradition has it that Theodora was a beautiful young Christian living in Alexandria (Egypt), when, at the height of the Great Persecution of Christians sanctioned ultimately by the Roman emperor Diocletian (303–311), she was arrested for her religion. Refusing to acknowledge the pagan gods, and thus proving herself guilty of impiety and treason, Theodora was sardonically sentenced to a life of prostitution in a common brothel. There she was discovered by a pagan named Didymus, who was so moved by the cruelty of this sentence that he determined both to convert to Christianity and to rescue Theodora from her debasement. The two, however, were discovered in their flight and martyred. Some authorities think that there may be some truth in this tale, others do not. Theodora has been recognized as a saint. Her feast day, which she shares with Didymus, is April 28.

William Greenwalt , Associate Professor of Classical History, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California

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