Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

19 September -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Missionaries, page 503

Theodore was born at Tarsus in Cilicia in about the year 602. He was an Asiatic Greek and had been educated in Athens before being appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by the pope. He was raised straight from being a sub-deacon to the archiepiscopal see but proved his worth by immediately undertaking a visitation of the whole of England soon after his arrival. He set about reforming the Church in England with the division of dioceses and summoned the Synod of Hertford on 24 September 673, probably the most important Church council in the land, as it issued canons dealing with the rights and obligations of both clergy and Religious: it restricted bishops to working in their own diocese and not intruding on the ministry of their prelate neighbours; it established precedence within the episcopacy; it ensured that monks remained stable to their monastery and obedient to their abbot; and many other matters were dealt with to effect the good order of the Church. The canons were based on those of the Council of Chalcedon. Theodore proved to be the first Archbishop of Canterbury to have the willing allegiance of all Anglo-Saxon England. He died on this day in the year 690 and was buried close to St Augustine at Canterbury.