The readings for today are here.
Today is the feast day of Theodore of Tarsus. According to his Wikipedia page, his life seems to be neatly divided into the time before he became Archbishop of Canterbury, and then after he became Archbishop of Canterbury.
Theodore was a very educated man and priest, born in Tarsus of Greek descent. He experienced Persian and Syrian culture first hand before moving to Rome for vocational and educational pursuits.
AT the age of 66, Theodore became Archbishop of Canterbury. The Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church tells us that part of Theodore’s work as Archbishop was to find a way for the Roman Christians and the Celtic Christians to each have a place in the church. The Gospel reading for the day has Jesus saying to the wind and the waves, “Peace, be still.” Finding a middle ground for the buttoned-up, formal Roman church to stay in relationship with the less formal, organically grown Celtic church was a feat we still thank God for today.
As Archbishop, Theodore and others established the school at Canterbury, which continues today. He regularized the calendar, redistributed some of the dioceses, and made sure the sees were filled. When he died after holding the archbishopric for 22 years, he was buried at St. Augustine’s Abbey.
In this time of great change in the church, and the church’s role in our lives, Theodore of Tarsus is a beacon of hope. The church was no less tumultuous then. Theodore seems to have had a clear vision for making room for everyone – finding a way for all who wanted to be in the church to have a space. He seems to have been a good administrator who saw to the details of reorganizing what needed reorganizing in his 22 years of office. He faced opposition, but did not let that deter him from doing what needed to be done. He seems to have been a good administrator who leaned into the knowledge that God is still in the church, making a way for everyone for be included.
Icon from here.