Skip to main content

Theodore Lector


Church historian. Exact birth and death places and dates unknown. Theodore was a reader (anagnōstēs ) of the Hagia Sophia Church of Constantinople in the first half of the sixth century. He wrote two significant ecclesiastical histories in Greek. The first, the Historia tripartita, written probably after 520 and completed by 530, recounted in four books the fortunes of the Church from the reign of Emperor Constantine I up to 439. It was a collection of extracts taken from the fifth-century Church histories of socrates Scholasticus, sozomen, and theo doret of cyr. Theodore selected those texts that in his opinion provided the most accurate source for particular events. His estimate of the relative value of each historian's account of different subjects is still useful. The Historia tripartita is also of service in establishing the textual history of the respective narratives of Socrates, Sozomen, and Theodoret. cassiodorus consulted this work in composing his own Historia tripartita. Unfortunately, only books one and two have been largely preserved, with the rest being preserved only in fragments.

Theodore wrote also a Historia ecclesiastica as a continuation of the Historia tripartita. It was divided into four books, and described the history of the Church from 439 up to the accession of Emperor justin i (518). Only a few fragments of this history, an important source for the obscure fifth century, have been preserved in such works as the De imaginibus of St. john damascene, the Acts of the Council of Nicaea, the Historia ecclesiastica of Evagrius Scholasticus, and Pseudo-Codinus. Fragments of both the Historia tripartita and the Historia ecclesiastica owe their preservation to a lost epitome of Church history composed in the seventh or eighth century. Fragments of this epitome, which has not had a critical edition, are preserved in Cod. Paris. gr. 1555 a, Cod. Baroccianus 142, Paris. suppl. 1156, and Cod. Athous Vatopedi 286.

Bibliography: Patrologia Graeca 86.1:157228. h. g. opitz, Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa et al. (Stuttgart 1893) 5.2A (1934) 186981. É. amann, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 15.1:232233. j. bidez, La Tradition manuscrite de Sozomène et la Tripartite de Théodore le Lecteur (TU 32.2b;1908).

[w. e. kaegi, jr.]

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Theodore Lector." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . 18 Feb. 2019 <>.

"Theodore Lector." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . (February 18, 2019).

"Theodore Lector." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved February 18, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.