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Wednesdays with the Saints Evening Prayer
September 19 @ 5:15 PM - 5:45 PM
Wednesdays with the Saints
Evening Prayer Service
Daily prayers are said on a regular schedule at Saint James. On Wednesday evenings, we invite you to explore and celebrate the inspiring lives of the saints at our Evening Prayer service. This week at Evening Prayer, we celebrate the life and contributions of Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury.
A native of Tarsus in Cilicia, Theodore was born about AD 602. He studied Greek in Athens and at some point before the 660s, moved to Rome where he studied Latin literature—both sacred and secular.
At about this time in England, the Synod of Whitby sent Wighard, Archbishop-elect of Canterbury, to Rome to be consecrated as archbishop, thereby filling the seat that happened to be left vacant. Unfortunately while in Rome, Wighard died unexpectedly. Pope Vitalian appointed Theodore to fill the position. On March 26, 668, Theodore was consecrated archbishop of Canterbury. He was 66 years old.
After his arrival in England in May of 669, he visited the dioceses in his charge. He filled the vacant bishoprics and in 672, called and presided over the first council of the entire English Church at Hertford. Theodore established definite boundaries for the various dioceses and founded new dioceses where needed. The body of canon law drawn up under his supervision, and his structure of dioceses and parishes, survived the turmoil of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and are largely intact today.
He also founded a school at Canterbury that trained Christians from both the Celtic and the Roman traditions and helped to unite the two groups. Subjects included theology and sacred studies, Latin and Greek, poetry, music, astronomy and calendar calculation—an important skill in those days. Theodore died in 690 at the age of 88; he had been archbishop for twenty-two years. He was buried in Canterbury in St. Augustine’s Abbey.