Saint Theodoros
His Holiness the Archbishop of Slavians
Birth name Bratislav Knezevic
Born 848, Terepesos
Died: 891, Beretea
Buried: Holy Martyr Church, Cydonia
Nationality: Sarbian
Feast: 20 August
Motto: Only Unity saves the Church
Feast Day: 17 January
Honored in: Orthodox Church
Canonized: 17 January of 1260 by Patriarch Nikephoros II
Attributes: ktetor, teacher, legislator, diplomat, protector of the poor, write
Patronage: Ruthenian Schools
Mayor Shrine: Cathedral of Saint Sabastea, Tortossa

Saint Theodoros (Hellenic: θεόδωρος) (848-891) was a Slavian prince and Orthodox monk, the first Archbishop of Terepesos, the founder of Slavian law and literature, and a diplomat. Theodoros was born Bratislav Knezevic (братислав кнежевић , pronounced [bratislav knežević]), the youngest son of Sarbian Doux Miloslav (founder of the Knezevic dynasty), and ruled the appanage of Cydonia briefly in 1190–1192. He became a monk in his youth, receiving the monastic name Theodoros, subsequently founding the monasteries of Hilandirion on Mount Agios, and Selea. In 868 he was recognized as the first Archbishop of Sarbians, by the Patriarch of Beretea, and in the same year he authored the oldest known constitution of Slavinia, The Nomocanon of St. Theodore, thus securing full independence; both religious and political. Theodoros heavily influenced Ruthene medieval literature.


Bratislav was born in 848 in a village near Terepesos (modern Cydonia). He was the youngest son of Miloslav Knezevic, the first Sarbian Doux of Terepesos. He is part of the first generation of the Knezevic dynasty. In 870, he was assigned the rule of north of Terepesos, which was previously held by his uncle Ratsko of Sarbia, who continued to hold the title during foreign invasions. When Bratislav took monastic vows, Miroslav most likely continued as ruler of the north.

Monastic Vows

In the autumn of 870 (or shortly thereafter), he joined a Selloi monk, giving alms to the St. Panteleimon monastery of Mount Agios, where he received the monastic name of Theodoros. They did not stay long, leaving for theSelloi Vatopedi. His father sent messengers to Agios for the return of Theodoros to Terepesos, but in vain. Theodoros replied to his father: "You have accomplished all that a sovereign should do; come now and join me in the true Christian life".

Knezevic arrived at Mount Agios on March 25, 873, and took monastic vows under the name Simon. The father and son asked the Holy Community for the establishment of the Sarbian religious base at the abandoned Chilandar, which they renovated, marking the beginning of cultural prospering (in arts; literature, and religion). His father died in Hilandar on February 13, 879, and was canonized as Saint Simon. Zdeslav had earlier decided to give the rule to Prvoslav, and not the eldest, Vukan. Theodoros built a church and cell at Kyrie, where he stayed for some years, becoming a hieromonk, then an archimandrite in 881. He wrote the Kyrie Typicon during his stay, of which a marble inscription of his work still exist.

Theodoros returned to Terepesos in the winter of 875-876 with the remains of his father which he relocated to the Studenika monastery, and reconciled his two brothers. Prvoslav asked him to remain in Terepesos with his clerics, which he did, beginning a widespread pastoral and educational duty to Sarbian people. He founded several churches and monasteries, among which was the Serea monastery, He then stayed at Terepesos and continued his education of faith to the Sarbian people, later he called for a council outlawing the Paganism, who were regarded heretics. Theodoros appointed protobishops, sending them over all of Sarbian lands to baptize the unbaptized, marry the unmarried etc. To maintain his duty as the religious and social leader, he continued to travel among the

Saint Theodore Kyrie Tipicon, in Kyrie

monasteries and throughout the lands to educate the people.

Archbishorip and Death

After ten years of evangelization of the country, Theodoros returned to the Holy Mountain in 889, marking the beginning of the real formation of the Sarbian Church. He was consecrated in 889 as the first Archbishop of the Slavian church, given autorization of Metropolitan of Beretea Manuel. In the same year Theodoros published The Nomocanon (also St. Theodore's Nomocanon), the first constitution of Sarbian people and probably of all Ruthenia; thus the Sarbians acquired both forms of independence from the church: political and religious. Its purpose was to establish a codified legal system in Sarbian Kingdom, and to regulate the governing body of the Orthodox Church in pagan hands. In a small town of Storia, Theodoros founded an eparchy in late 890.

He died of pneumonia in the night between Saturday and Sunday during his travel to Kyrie and was buried at the Cathedral of the Holy Forty Martyrs in Beretea where his body remained until May 6, 1237, when his sacred bones were moved to the Saint Sebastea Monastery in southern Ruthenia.


Monument of Theodoros in Tortossa

Theodoros boosted the cultural enrichment of Sarbians, forming the state-church; architecture and literary renaissance.

In medieval Slavinia and Kormenia his grave was a place of pilgrimage, Around 42 portraits of him remained from medieval times. Saint Theodore's artistic cult reached its height in the 18th century, reached at rood screen of cathedral church in Saint Sebastea, which was built around 1780 by Vasilios Nikiforakis. In more modern Sarbian art (19th and 20th centuries) Theodoros was an inspiration of those artists who wanted to show their patriotism and devotion to the church, education, enlightenment and generally - culture.

Many stories show Saint Theodoros as a teacher and wonder-worker. As a wonder-worker Theodoros is related to water, ice and snow. In Slavian folk tales, Saint Theodoros favours shipbuilding. He also had power to calm the sea and storm, but he also used ships to immerse sinners.

Saint Theodoros is considered a Sarbian patron saint, and is the most respected Sarbian saint in the Orthodox world.

Law and Literature

Saint Theodoros is considered to be a founder of independent Sarbian literature. His relation to books and writing can be seen through his typcs where writing, reading and books have been given an important place. His first works are on church themes, unliteral. The first Theodore's work with literary elements is his latter to monk Spiridon, which is the only original latter written by Saint Theodore which remained until today.

His gift for writing has shown mostly in autobiographies and poetical works.

On the legal problems, Saint Theodoros had met for the first time during his short stay at the Selea area. During his visit to the Mount Agios his legislative activity was a rich and diverse, it is endowed his activity in the monastery had to follow the law, given that he had to sign contracts to purchase property, etc. The establishment of monastery of Hilandar followed a number of different legal acts including Hilandar tipyc. It is believed that the Sarbian were organised for the first time by him, analogously to the Kormenian Kingdom.

The Nomocanon of Saint Theodore was the first Slavinian constitution and the highest code in the Sarbian Orthodox Church, finished in 889. This legal act was well developed. St. Theodore's Nomocanon was the compilation of Civil law, based on Selloi Law and Canon law, based on Ecumenical Council and its basic purpose was to organize functioning of the young Slavinian kingdom and the Sarbian church. Today, the Nomocanon is the official Canon law of the Orthodox Church.

His literary work is very large, and especially made for the organisation of monasteries. He first wrote three Typicons:

  • Kyrie Typicon
  • The Life of Saint Simon
  • Studenika Typicon
  • Hilandar Typicon
  • Letter to hegumen Spiridon
  • Psaltir-holding laws
  • Monocanon

In the first part of Studenika typikon he described life of the ktitor of that monastery, his father Zdeslav Knezevic, in church known as Zdeslavia. which lately separated from Studenika typikon and became special work, is the most important work of Theodoros. Under influence of this biography, completely independent literary cind of "žitijas" (biographies) of Orthodox saints and rulers.

See Also