The cave of Saint Teodora

The cave of Saint Teodora



Vanatori - Neamt, 617010, Romania


Saint Teodora was born in the village of Vânători in Neamţ county, around the year 1650. She was one of the two daughters of Ştefan Joldea, a soldier at the Neamţ Citadel. Teodora's youth is marked by a tragic event: the death of her sister at a young age. For this reason, Teodora wants to retire at the monastery. But in order not to grieve her parents who had already lost a daughter, she gets married. After their death, however, she and her husband decide to go separately to the monastery. At the age of 30, Teodora will enter the Vărzăreşti-Vrancea Hermitage, and her husband will become a monk at the Poiana Mărului Hermitage.

Because of the Turkish raids, Teodora retreats to more hidden places, on the border between the Buzău and Vrancea mountains. After a few years, she returns to Neamţ and lives near the Sihăstria Hermitage, in the cell next to the wooden Church, which still exists today. There he spent his time in prayer and contemplation, in poor clothes, feeding only on what the forest offered him: fruits, sponges, nettles, roots.

At a new attack by the Turks, Cuvioasa was seen by them and chased. Then one of the greatest miracles in Teodora's life takes place. At her prayer, a rock split and formed a cave that sheltered the Saint, the stone wall closing in front of the Turkish invaders. Teodora will live until the end of her life in this cave that can still be seen today, located only 50 meters from her cell.

Here the Saint lived for 10 years, unknown to the world, only in the care of God, alongside the beasts of the forest. It is even said that she blessed these places so that those who will arrive here will be protected for life from wild beasts.

The time spent in this cave brings the Pious to the highest degree of asceticism. She receives the gift of "before-sight", and ends up not feeling the cold, thirst, hunger or sleep anymore. She was not eating for weeks in a row, and her clothes were only rags.

The Saint begins to desire more and more death, but before that she wanted impartation. And her prayer was answered. Several birds went to the Sihăstria Hermitage at mealtime, took bread in their beaks and flew with it to Sihla. Seeing them, the abbot sends two disciples to see where the birds are going. They find the Pious Theodora in prayer, raised from the earth, like the Pious Mary of Egypt. She told them about her life, about her near end, and asked them to go to the monastery to bring her a priest so that she could be imparted. The next morning the saint was imparted and immediately afterwards she died.

Her relics were placed in the cave, where they stayed for almost 100 years. In 1830, her miracle-making body was taken by the Sturza family to the church in Miclăuşeni-Iași. From there, in 1856, the relics arrived at the Pecerska Lavra in Kiev, where they are still today.

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