To the Ends of the Earth

Orthodox Christian Missions

St. Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury

with 2 comments

theodore_hartCommemorated September 19

St. Theodore is also the patron saint of the British Deanery of the Antiochian Orthodox Church. As such, there are two very good lives of the saint on the deanery website, both of which I recommend. The first is by Fr. Alexander Haig, and can be found here. The second, which is a bit more detailed, is by Adrian Hart (who wrote the icon to the left), and can be found here.

The following excerpt is the first part of the introduction of Fr. Alexander’s telling of St. Theodore’s life.

On 27th May in the year 669, some thirteen hundred years ago, there landed on these shores, probably only a few miles from here, one who was to become a lantern and a light for the people of Britain, and particularly for the English people. He was a foreigner from the other end of the Roman Empire, who had travelled considerably before arriving here. He had great and wide experience, already a man of 67 years. He was Theodore, who – at what we might have thought the end of his life – started a completely new ministry here in these islands in the western ocean. It was a startling new beginning – completely unanticipated, we may assume, not much more than a year before.

I wonder what the English thought as he arrived: “Fancy the Pope appointing an old man like Theodore to this challenging task of being Archbishop for the land of Britain. He’ll never manage it. He’ll die within a couple of years ago. A foreigner too! Why did that good Englishman the king sent to be Archbishop have to die? What a waste!” – But what a surprise any complainants were to have, for here was a man of holiness, a man of power but of humility, a man of great intellectual ability, a man of great administrative ability, a man of physical strength – and clearly a man of saintly qualities. Here in fact was one who was to alter the course of the Church of the English. Here was one who was to shape the very nature and structure of the English Nation, not just of the Church. Here was a man whose influence has continued even to this very day, thirteen hundred years later.


Written by Stephen

September 19, 2009 at 10:39 pm

Posted in European Saints, Saints

2 Responses

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  1. Hello

    We have just arrived in Tarsus from Canterbury under our own steam. By bike to Rome and then on foot from there to Tarsus. Therefore very happy to find this article

    Ian Brodrick and Regula Burri
    Confraternity of Pilgrims to Jerusalem

    Power of Pilgrimage

    October 17, 2011 at 11:53 am

    • Wow, that sounds like quite the trip! God bless, and thanks for stopping by.


      October 18, 2011 at 8:10 pm

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