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Theodore of Tarsus

Theodore of Tarsus (c.602–90). Sent by Pope Vitalian as archbishop of Canterbury, with Hadrian, who became abbot of St Augustine's, Theodore arrived in 669. Two deaths had left the see vacant for five years. Plague had drastically reduced church leaders and monastic communities, and rekindled some heathenism. The church lacked organization and had not achieved the uniformity promised at Whitby (664). Theodore toured his province, eliminating irregularities, consecrating bishops, and in 672 summoned the first synod of the whole English church at Hertford. Deaths and depositions afforded opportunities to divide large dioceses. By his death, Theodore had built up the episcopate and created an organized, united church under Canterbury. In his primacy monasticism progressed, the use of charters confirming land grants grew, and with Hadrian, the Canterbury school flourished, attracting scholars from far afield.

Audrey MacDonald

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