Chaplaincy & Services | Posted 21.09.2017

St Theodore, Born in Syria, lived from 602 to 690 and was Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 AD until his death.

Theodore was a Syrian Christian of Byzantine descent, who was forced to flee from Tarsus, when it fell to Islam. His own story is especially poignant as today’s Syrian Christians face their own Calvary of persecution, and flight to unknown lands, reminding us of the ever-present challenge of persecution and the exodus of the Middle East’s Christians fleeing Syria and Iraq.

St. Theodore studied theology, medicine, Roman Civil Law, Greek rhetoric and philosophy, Latin literature (both secular and ecclesiastical), astronomy and mathematics in Antioch, Constantinople and Rome. He was the embodiment of faith and reason.

When Pope Vitalian sent Theodore to Britain it was just after the Synod of Whitby, which confirmed the decision of the English Church to follow Rome.  He worked hard to fulfil the aims of the Synod, bringing Celtic British Christianity into harmony with Roman practice, for example by harmonising the date of Easter.   Theodore is celebrated for healing divisions, reforming the Church and for the entrenchment of Christian education.  His promotion of Biblical commentary, sacred music, knowledge of Eastern Christianity – and the possible creation of the Litany of the Saints – added richness and beauty to the liturgy and a more profound understanding of other traditions within the Christian faith.  A saint, then, for our troubled times.

He is of special interest to us at Stonyhurst, because the new Heritage centre that is being developed from the Old Mill is dedicated to him, partly because the centre was greatly helped by a generous grant from the St Theodore Trust, an Anglican foundation.  We pray that by his intercession the Heritage Centre may flourish, and enhance our links with the rich Christian History of these islands.