First Saturday of Lent: The Commemoration of the Miracle of Kollyva wrought by Saint Theodore the Tyro
Julian the Apostate, knowing that the Christians purify themselves by fasting most of all during the first week of the Fast -- which is why we call it Clean Week -- planned to defile them especially at that time. Therefore he secretly commanded that during those days the markets be filled with foods that had been defiled with the blood of animals offered in sacrifice to idols. But by divine command the Martyr Theodore (see Feb. 17) appeared during sleep to Eudoxius, then Archbishop of Constantinople. The Saint revealed to him the tyrant's plan, then told him to call the faithful together immediately on Monday morning and prevent them from purchasing those foods, but rather to make kollyva to supply their needs. The bishop asked what kollyva might be, and the Saint answered, "Kollyva is what we call boiled wheat in Euchaita." Thus, the purpose of the Apostate was brought to nought, and the pious people who were preserved undefiled for the whole of Clean Week, rendered thanks to the Martyr on this Saturday, and celebrated his commemoration with kollyva. These things took place in 362. Wherefore, the Church keeps this commemoration each year to the glory of God and the honour of the Martyr.