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(AD 602 - 690)
Archbishop of Canterbury
Born: AD 602
Died: 19th September AD 690
A native of Tarsus in Cilicia, Theodore was born about AD 602. Having studied
in Athens, he visited Rome and, whilst there, was appointed by Pope Vitalian to
the See of Canterbury, which had been vacant for four years. Theodore arrived in
England in AD 669 and was well received everywhere. He was the first Archbishop
whose authority the whole English Church was willing to acknowledge.
The aims which Theodore set before himself were the organization of the
Church and the encouragement of learning. He therefore consecrated Bishops to
fill the vacant Sees and subdivided the existing Dioceses.
Wilfrid, who at this time ruled all the Church north of the Humber, resisted
the attempt to deprive him of any part of his Diocese; but although on his
appeal to Rome, the papal decision was given in his favour, Theodore proceeded
with the subdivision of the Northumbrian episcopate. Shortly before his death,
he was reconciled to Wilfrid, who was restored to his See.
The diocesan system which Theodore sought to establish was accepted by a
Synod of the united English Church held at Hertford in AD 673. Another Synod,
held at Hatfield in 680, affirmed the adhesion of the English Church to the
The enlightened zeal of Theodore allowed learning to flourish in England.
Under his direction, and with the able help of Hadrian and Benedict Biscop,
seminaries were founded at many of the Monasteries. Theodore died in AD 690.
Edited from G.M. Bevan's "Portraits of
the Archbishops of Canterbury" (1908).