The Orthodox Church’s notion of the ideal Christian was a person as close to Christ himself as it was possible for a human to be. The stories of historical figures idealized by the church display this both in their actions and in the situations which they lived in.
The Life of Theodosius, for example, contains many parallels to the life of Jesus Christ. In Childhood, Jesus was supposedly an extraordinary student (Luke 2:41-52), but we can also assume that he was not the awesome and powerful figure that he would later become from the fact that so little exists documenting his early life. Theodosius, called Feodosii in the text, also spends his youth studying the word of God, all the while being very respectful to his parents and his teachers. As he grows older, he takes on many other Christ-like qualities. He busies himself with giving aid to the poor, and insists upon being as meek and humble as he can be, even as those around him attempt to convince him to act like any other boy in his position. When he was beaten and enchained by his mother or mocked by his peers he stood strong in his faith regardless, just as Jesus was not swayed by those who did not believe in him. Just as Jesus’s actions earned him his followers, so too did Feodosii’s humble behavior and selfless actions also managed to inspire others to support him, such as the governor of the town who grew to love Feodosii more each time he gave away his nice clothing to the poor.
Unlike Jesus, Feodosii was not martyred, and was able to live the rest of his life in service to God. The ideal of giving one’s life for God is represented instead in the story of Saints Boris and Gleb, whose deaths symbolized “a particular form of piety which came to be highly regarded in Rus’ culture”. Boris and Gleb were both killed by their elder brother, Sviatopolk. Rather than attempting to fight back, they allowed him to make martyrs of them so that they would not have to corrupt their peaceful lives with acts of violence. So too did Jesus sacrifice his own life without fighting back against his killers.