The Siege of the Holy Land, 530 A.D.

Theodosius was born in Cappadocia, in Asia Minor in 423. At a very early age he entered the service of the Church as a lector. According to tradition his life was inspired by the example of Abraham: while still a child he left his homeland to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

During this journey he was invited by Longinus, his spiritual guide, to take care of a community on the road to Bethlehem. Here he took charge of the construction of a large new monastery, Cathismus, which in a short period of time was filled with monks.

He died in 529 from a painful illness, which he met with a forbearance that reached heroic levels. St. Theodosius was buried in the first cave in which he had lived, known as the Holy Magi since, according to tradition, it was where the Magi stayed when they had come to adore the Child Jesus.

In the text below Theodosius recounts a story involving the place traditionally known as Katisma near the Monastery of St. Elias, where Mary stopped to rest during her journey from Jerusalem to Bethlehem.

The site of the Kathisma

Urbicius came to be called the Superintendent of the Empire because he served in this function for seven emperors; he himself crowned the heads of these emperors, removed their crowns and chastised them. There is a place three miles from the city of Jerusalem: when St. Mary, the mother of the Lord, was going to Bethlehem she got off her donkey there, sat down on a rock and blessed it. Superintendent Urbicius himself had this stone cut and made square in the form of an altar, intending to send it to Constantinople.

When he came to St. Stephen’s Gate, he could move it no further. A yoke of oxen was pulling [the cart with] the stone, and seeing that in no way could they move it forward it was brought back to the Tomb of the Lord, and there an altar was made from this stone, and this altar is used for Communion. It is behind the Tomb of the Lord.

This Superintendent Urbicius died in Constantinople during the reign of Emperor Anastasius [491-518], and they buried him. And the earth would not receive Urbicius, three times the tomb cast him out.

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