[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

VII Century
Born in Cilicia, Theodore (c. 602-690) was educated both in his native land and in Greece before entering a Greek monastery in Italy. Vitalian consecrated him Archbishop of Canterbury in 668, and accompanied by his friend Adrian and Benedict Biscop, Theodore traveled to England to administer his see. Adrian became the abbot of Sts. Peter and Paul in Canterbury, and the two friends established a school in the city at which students took classes in Greek and Latin, as well as in music and mathematics. The school also taught Biblical exegesis in the Antiochene style. Theodore, who is responsible for the elevation of the diocese of Canterbury to an archiepiscopal see, is credited with organizing the English church and unifying liturgical practices within his metropolitanate. He settled a quarrel between Sts. Chad and Wilfred over the see of York by dividing it; in addition, he mediated a dispute between Æthelred of Mercia and Ecgfrith of Northumbria. He convened synods at Hertfordshire, Hatfield, and Clovesho and established the convoking of yearly diocesan councils. He also visited parishes in his diocese and fostered cooperation between church and state. Bede praises his labors in the church. No written work remains: a popular penitential attributed to Theodore is no longer thought to be his.

Karen Rae Keck