Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Theodore of Tarsus

Theodore (602 - 690) was the eighth Archbishop of Canterbury.

Born in Tarsus, he was raised during a period of war between the Byzantium and  Sassanid Empires, which would have led to him having to leave Tarsus following its capture by Persian and then Arab forces. By the 660s he was living in a community of Eastern monks in Rome, and in 668 consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome, arriving in England the following year.

He soon began a reform of the English Church, appointing a number of bishops to vacant sees, and called the Synod of Hertford to discuss matters including the date of the celebration of Easter, episcopal authority, and itinerant monks, amongst others. He also suggested splitting the diocese of Northumbria into smaller sections, which brought him into conflict with Bishop Wilfrid of York, who was deposed and expelled in 678 as a result.

In 679, Theodore intervened to broker peace between the kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia, who were then at war.

He co-established a school in Canterbury, taught sacred music, and may have been responsible for the introduction of the Litany of the Saints into the West.


Almighty God,
the light of the faithful and shepherd of souls,
who set your servant Theodore to be a bishop in the Church,
to feed your sheep by the word of Christ
and to guide them by good example:
give us grace to keep the faith of the Church
and to follow in the footsteps
of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord.


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