19 September / 2 October
In the time of the Emperor Probus, in the third century, when Atticus was governing Antioch, two Christians, Trophimus and Sabbatius, both eminent and honoured men, came to that city. Just at that time, there was a pagan festival and offerings to the idol of Apollo in Daphne near Antioch. Atticus made a special effort to ensure that all the citizens took part in the festivities. When someone saw Trophimus and Sabbatius, and told Atticus that these two old men were not taking part, Atticus summoned them for trial, and, when they refused to deny Christ, put them to torture one by one. After beating and torturing Trophimus, he sent him to Phrygia to Dionysius, a yet harsher torturer of Christians, himself taking Sabbatius from prison and trying him. When the torturer asked Sabbatius who he was and what was his rank, he replied: 'My rank and dignity, my homeland, my glory and my riches are Christ the Son of God, who is alive for ever and by whose providence the whole universe is held in being.' He was therefore beaten and flogged with iron flails until his bones showed through his flesh, and he died under these tortures. The torturer put Trophimus to harsh torture, and held him in prison to inflict yet greater torture on him. Then a certain senator, Dorymedon, a secret Christian, came to the prison and ministered to Trophimus. When the torturer discovered this, he put them both to torture and finally threw them to the wild beasts. But the animals would not touch them. Holy Dorymedon even shouted into the ear of a she-bear to eat him up, but the bear only became even more docile. The torturer ordered, in consequence of this, that Ss Trophimus and Dorymedon be beheaded. The souls of these holy martyrs now reign in heaven. The Holy Martyr Zossima the Hermit.
Probably the most important archbishop of Canterbury between St. Augustine and St. Lanfranc both for his organisation of the Church in England and as a scholar and teacher. The Venerable Bede tells us he was Greek by birth from Tarsus in Cilicia and had been educated in Constantinople and was a monk. Before his appointment he lived in Rome and was famous for his contribution to the bitter monothelite controversy. He was recommended by St. Adrian, an African bishop to Pope Vitalin, who was then looking for a suitable archbishop of Canterbury in 666. This followed the death in Rome of Wighard, the archbishop elect, and the choice of the kings of Northumbria and Kent in the crisis following the Synod of Whitby and an outbreak of the plague. St Adrian himself had been the pope's choice, but he had refused. Vitalin asked him instead to accompany and help St Theodore. He left Rome with St. Adrian and St Benedict Biscop, consulted St. Agilbert, bishop of Paris and former bishop of Wessex on the way, and reached England in 669. He made a visitation of most of the country, filled vacant sees, set up an important school at Canterbury with St. Adrian, which soon became the source of several future bishops and attracted students even from Ireland, and held the first synod of the Anglo-Saxon church at Hertford in 672. Its ten decrees were based on canons approved by the Council of Chalcedon, widely adopted in the West. But they dealt admirably with the legacy of division in England between bishops trained by Roman and those trained by Irish masters; they also dealt with the respective rights of bishops and monasteries. A further decision was taken to create more dioceses, which was later implemented by Theodore in Northumbria (at the expense of St. Wilfrid), in Mercia, East Anglia, and Wessex. Theodore's work was the unification of disparate elements in the Church, fusing the elements from Rome, Gaul, and Ireland into a single cohesive whole. Although he was highhanded in his division of the Northumbrian diocese. and the papacy upheld St. Wilfrid against him. his policy. if not the way of implementing it, was sound. In pursuing it, he rightly respected the territorial limits of the regional kings' power by creating a second (or third) diocese within the kingdom, but avoided setting up dioceses with territory in different kingdoms. Towards the end of his long life he sought a reconciliation with St. Wilfrid and helped towards his partial restoration. According to St. Wilfrid's biographer alone, he also expressed a desire that St. Wilfrid should succeed him at Canterbury. This was never realised. St. Theodore's second synod, at Hatfield, produced a declaration of orthodoxy by the Church in England in the monothelite controversy. The synods later held at Clovesho were the direct result of St. Theodore inaugurating the series at Hertford which decreed that such yearly synods should be held. St. Theodore's school at Canterbury taught not only Latin and Greek (very rare at this time), but also Roman Law, the rules of metre, computistics, music and biblical exegesis on the Pentateuch and the Gospels of the literal school of Antioch. Theodore is also known to have been interested in medicine. But the Penitential ascribed to him cannot be his work as it stands: some elements (e.g. on remarriage after divorce) are in plain contradiction to his known teaching, while others date from after Theodore's death. It is possible that certain elements may go back to Theodore's oral teaching, but the whole work had at least two editors and the original cannot be recovered. Some of his exegesis has been recently studied afresh. St. Theodore died on 19 September at the age of about eighty-seven; he was buried close to St. Augustine in the monastery of SS. Peter and Paul, Canterbury. In 1091 his incorrupt body was translated.