Legendary monk who made a Pact with the devil. The story of Theophilus was popular during the Middle Ages, especially because of its triumphant ending. It was written in various languages, was read at many churches, and was made into a drama, Le Miracle de Theophile, by Ruteboeuf, a 13th-century trouvere. Theophilus was bursar of the church of Adana in northern Cicilia. He was offered a bishopric. A modest man, he declined because he was afraid he could not do the job. The man who did become bishop took a perverse interest in tormenting and harassing Theophilus, even accusing him of sorcery. Theophilus lost his job. In revenge, he went to see Salatin, an “evil old Jew” who took Theophilus to a crossroads and conjured the Devil in an exotic language. The Devil offered revenge and the bishopric in exchange for Theophilus’ soul. Theophilus agreed, renounced Jesus and Mary, and signed a pact in his own blood.
According to Le Miracle de Theophile, the pact read: To all who shall read this open letter, I, Satan, let know that the fortune of Theophilus is changed indeed, and that he has done me homage, so might he have once more his lordship, and that with the ring of his finger he has sealed this letter and with his blood written it, and no other ink has used therein.
As satan promised, the church realized there was no evidence against Theophilus. The bishop was removed from his office and Theophilus installed in his stead. But Theophilus was not happy; he began to worry about spending eternity in hell. He started praying unceasingly to the Virgin Mary for help. She took pity on him and interceded with God, obtaining God’s pardon. The relieved Theophilus burned his pact, made a public confession, and lived the rest of his life piously and in peace. The moral of Theophilus’ story is that repentance and prayer will save a person from the snares of the Devil. See Faust.
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