St. Theodore and the Hair Shirt


St Theodore the Trichinas with his disciple Zacchaeus and Monk Athanasios of Meteora

Sometime long ago, dates unknown, a monk was about to make an anti-fashion statement. Theodore the Monk, known as “the Trikhinas” started a new clothing trend that few would dare to follow. Theodore hailed from a rich Constantinopolitan family, but almost from the get-go, was not a fan of comfort.

In his youth he withdrew into a wilderness monastery in Thrace and became a monk. The monk was strict in fasting, but his real ascetic differentiator was that he wore only a coarse and prickly hair shirt, called a “trikhinia” (“vlasyanitsa”) and he became known for healing many and working copious miracles (and, of course, for donning the eternally discomforting shirt).

After his death it was said a salubrious myrrh that healed the sick and cast out impure spirits flowed from his relics. Years later, they dubbed his Thracian monastery The Trichinas after his vexatious garment.

Kontakion – Tone 4
You became most wondrous in life,
O wise Father Theodore,
Exchanging the royal treasures of this earth for a hairshirt,
Thereby receiving a heavenly garment.
Pray ever for us, O venerable one.

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About Pete Mladineo


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