On the death of Wighard, who had been sent to Pope Vitalian by Ecgberht of Kent and Oswio of Northumbria in 667, apparently for consecration as archbishop, Theodore, who had become prominent in the Eastern work of the church, was recommended by Hadrian of Niridanum to fill the vacant see.
Vitalian consecrated Theodore in April 688 on condition that Hadrian, afterwards abbot of St Peter's, Canterbury, should go with him. Hadrian was detained for some time by Ebroin, the Neustrian Mayor of the Palace, but Theodore reached England in May 669. According to Bede's account he made a tour of the whole of Anglo-Saxon England, reforming abuses and giving instruction as to the monastic rule and the canonical Easter. Bede also declares that he was the first archbishop to whom all the "church of the Angles" submitted.
From the first he seems to have ignored the scheme for a separate province of York, but he reorganized the episcopate, assigning Bisi to East Anglia, Putta to Rochester, Hlothhere to Wessex, and Ceadda after reconsecration to Mercia.
He brought the monastic education up to date by introducing literary, metrical and musical studies. In 673 Theodore presided at the first synod of the clergy in England which was held at Hertford. Various disciplinary regulations were emphasized, and an annual meeting arranged at a place called Cloveshoe. After this council Theodore revived the East Saxon bishopric, to which he appointed Earconwald. Soon after the first expulsion of Wilfrid in 678 he divided the Northumbrian diocese, appointing Trumwine bishop to the Picts. This led to a quarrel with Wilfrid which was not finally settled until 686-687. In 679 Theodore intervened to make peace between Ecgfrith of Northumbria and Aethelred of Mercia. He presided at other synods held in 680 at Hatfield and in 684 at Twyford, and died in 690. A penitential composed under Theodore's direction is still extant.
See Bede, Hist. Eccl, edited by C Plummer (Oxford, 1896); Eddius, Vita Wilfridii in J Raine's Historians of the Church of York, vol. i. (London, 1879); Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, edited by Earle and Plummer (Oxford, 1899); Haddan and Stubbs, Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents (Oxford, 1869-78), iii. 173-213.
This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.