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Image of St. Theodore of Tarsus


Feastday: September 19

Death: 690

Archbishop of Canterbury, England, and a memorable figure in the English Church. A native of Tarsus, Turkey, he was a Greek by descent. After studying in Tarsus and Athens, Greece, he went to Rome, where he became so respected that Pope St. Vitalian (r. 657-672) appointed him to succeed to the see of Canterbury in 667. After receiving consecration on March 26, 668, he set out for England in the company of Sts. Dominic Biscop and Hadrian the African, both of whom were to provide assistance and helped guarantee that Theodore's administration remained entirely orthodox. They arrived at Canterbury in May 669 and Theodore moved immediately to consolidate his position as primate of England and the metropolitan status of the see of Canterbury. To promote further unity, he convened two synods, at Hereford in 673 and at Hatfield in 680. Such was the success of his programs that the Venerable Bede wrote that Theodore was "the first archbishop obeyed by all the English Church."

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