Theodore of Tarsus: A Byzantine Saint In Anglo-Saxon England

Editor’s Note: I’m sharing this for Fr. John.

Theodore of Tarsus was the eighth Archbishop of Canterbury.

As we have seen, Anglo-Saxon England was divided into the seven kingdoms of Kent, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, East Anglia, Mercia and Northumbria at the time. The conversion of the Anglo-Saxons began around 597 when Augustine of Canterbury arrived in Kent. Over the course of the 7th century, the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms gradually converted to Christianity due to the Roman mission from the south and Irish missionaries coming down from the north.

Christianity had barely gotten off the ground in most of England when Theodore of Tarsus arrived in 669 to assume the role of Archbishop of Canterbury. What’s interesting about Theodore is that he was a Greek Orthodox Christian born in Tarsus in what is now Turkey which is where St. Paul was from and how he ended up in Britain in charge of the early Anglo-Saxon church. In his lifetime, Tarsus was overrun by the Persian Sassanid Empire and later became a war zone between Byzantines and the Muslims which were sweeping out of Saudi Arabia.

From 537 to 752, the Papacy was dominated by the Byzantine emperor. There were five Syrian popes in the late 7th and early 8th centuries. Lots of Syrian Christians fled to Europe to escape from Islam. Theodore of Tarsus was one of these and he went to Constantinople to study and from there to Rome and from there when he was 68 years old to Britain where he presided over a revival of Latin culture and introduced Greek to the Anglo-Saxons.

The Codex Amiatinus is the oldest surviving complete Latin version of the Bible. It was produced by monks at the Venerable Bede’s monastery in Jarrow and was taken to Italy as a gift for Pope Gregory II in 716. In less than a century, the Anglo-Saxons went from illiteracy to producing some of the finest scholars in Europe of the 8th century

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  1. “Editor’s Note: I’m sharing this for Fr. John. ”

    I feel honored, but really, all of this is common knowledge. And He was Archbishop of Canterbury….

  2. I am highly suspicious of holy men. They are usually up to no good. It is indeed unfortunate that Christianity was allowed to be reintroduced to Britain. It was done not to spread divine enlightenment but to increase the wealth and power of the Church.

    • The concept that Christianity was ‘reintroduced’ into England, is papal propaganda. As the Bishop of the West, prior to the Schism, the Pope was merely making sure the Monophysites, Nestorians, and other heretics didn’t lure the faithful away from Orthodoxy.
      At least in this time frame of England’s history… Spawn, you are just a crotchety old iconoclast-lol.

  3. Spawn.

    The problem you’ve got is that you are always using a shotgun when a rifle is warranted. Always shootin’ at everybody when the actual targets are both rather finite and well out of range. Shooting the sheep instead of the wolves…

    You are nothing but the queen mother of “sweeping generalities.”

    Moreover, most “Holy Men” back in earlier times are not the one’s we’ve had to deal with, particularly in the last one hundred years. Try reading St. John Chrysostom as a case in point.

    All men sin, Spawn, even the Norse.

  4. Just to point out, the Byzantines did not call themselves Byzantines,
    we call them that, scholars will tell you that, it is the Roman Empire
    and it at this point in history Greek in language. A lot is happening throughout this time and for hundreds of years to 1453.

    It is one church also, Rome, is just one of the Churches, this changes when Charles the Great is crowned King, supported by
    the Roman Church his Kingship in return supports them. They are
    doing a lot of their own thing till officially split at 1054.

    Charles the Great does great things, saves Latin and there is a lot of scholarship, literature and a more literate society.

    This is bigger than what is happing anywhere.

    I don’t get my history from wikipedia or youtube but,
    Wikipedia if you follow the links is very good on history,
    lots of related links, have a look, they seem to have
    University students putting things together, been like this
    for a few years, I see not problem with it, other very interesting
    searches that cover the topics HW has presented here, search
    neolithic, bronze age, iron age, lots of links and timelines.
    Try some classical history too, very interesting pics as well.

  5. Take history for what it is , be objective, almost non of us are
    highly religious, and all sides can point fingers and attack each other.

    Is that what learning is for ?

    Europe came very close to being snuffed out,
    today we need something similar, it can only come from leadership,
    education, empowerment, and fighting back. With all odds against
    us making it back.

    “Charlemagne ordered the creation of schools in a capitulary known as the Charter of Modern Thought, issued in 787.[27] A major part of his program of reform was to attract many of the leading scholars of the Christendom of his day to his court. Among the first called to court were Italians: Peter of Pisa, who from 776 to about 790 instructed Charlemagne in Latin, and from 776 to 787 Paulinus of Aquileia, whom Charlemagne nominated as patriarch of Aquileia in 787.”

    “Carolingian workshops produced over 100,000 manuscripts in the 9th century, of which some 7,000 or 6% survive.[30] The Carolingians produced the earliest surviving copies of the works of Cicero, Horace, Martial, Statius, Lucretius, Terence, Julius Caesar, Boethius and Martianus Capella.[31] No copies of the texts of these authors were made in the Latin West in the 7th and 8th centuries.[31]”

  6. This Theodore of Tarsus looks to be decent looking White Greek guy – in stark contrast to that other guy that came out of Tarsus – Saul of Tarsus, that supposedly saw the light on the road to Damascus Syria and became “St. Paul” who preached a race denying slave cult where there supposedly was about to be this global utopia where there would supposedly be no divisions, no distinctions between Jews and Gentles, Free and Slave, Men and Women everybody would soon join this global commune. But it sort of didn’t happen. Just look at these places in Syria before our kinsmen the Russians intervened to save the few remaining White folks. Look at this painting of Rabbi Saul of Tarsus/St. Paul – the guy looks as slimey as New Yawk Senator Chuck Schumer:

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