Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

St Theodore of Canterbury

Today is inter alia the feast of St Theodore of Canterbury, often known from his birthplace as Theodore of Tarsus (602-690). In addition to being the Archbishop who is credited with beginning the creation of  the parochial system in England in the years after his appointment to Canterbury in 669 his intellectual importance as a scholar before he came to England and its legacy has come to be appreciated in recent years thanks to the work of  Michael Lapidge in his 1995 study of Theodore. Lapidge's Oxford Dictionary of National Biography life of the saint can be read here. He emerges as a man with the qualities of a Lanfranc or an Anselm.

St Theodore of Canterbury
A modern icon from Aidan Hart Icons

Image: forallsaints.wordpress.com

Gravesite of  St Theodore at St. Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury

It was Sir Frank Stenton in his Anglo Saxon England who pointed to the cultural breadth of the Church at the time when he described the episcopal consecration in 685 at York by St Theodore, the last known student of the school of Athens, of one of the greatest, and last, products of the Hiberno-Scottish monastic tradition, St Cuthbert.

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