Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of Canterbury (668 to 690)

Graham Kings writing in the Church of England Newspaper

Rowan Williams flies to New Orleans on 19 September, the day the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Anglican Communions celebrate the life and wisdom of Theodore of Tarsus, the Archbishop of Canterbury from 668 to 690, who came from St Paul’s own town. On 24 September 673, he summoned the Synod of Hertford. Amongst other things, that Synod issued canons dealing with the rights and obligations of clergy and restricted bishops to working in their own dioceses and not intruding on the ministry of neighbouring bishops. The canons were based on those of the Council of Chalcedon, in 451.

Kings also writes,

Both [Andrewes and Hooker] defended the Church of England on two edges: against Roman Catholicism and the Puritans – or Rome and Geneva, as Hooker often put it. As an Anglican, he was ‘Reformed’ in theology but drew on ‘natural law’. Rather than respond with an instant tract to the Puritan opposition to him in his church, The Temple, he retired to a quieter parish and wrote his magisterial, multi-volume Of The Lawes of Ecclesiastical Polity.

What are the two extreme ‘edges’ that the Anglican Communion needs defending against today? It seems to me that they are the ‘autonomous rootless liberalism’ that too often has undergirded the actions of The Episcopal Church and the ‘independent relentless puritanism’ that ignores the pivotal, gathering role of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Both positions, in effect, have tried to trump the ‘interdependence’ of the Communion with their pre-emptive actions and reactions.

Read it here at the Fulcrum website.

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