A Letter from the Rector - September 19, 2019

    September 19, 2019 by Jesse Lebus

    Greetings St. Luke’s, friends and family!

    Theodore of Tarsus (Archbishop of Canterbury), whose life essentially spanned the entire 7th century, may hold the record for the shortest amount of time between his ordination as a deacon and his consecration as a bishop: 4 months! It was only that long because he couldn’t be made a bishop until his hair grew enough to be cut into a tonsure, the required coif of the episcopate. See the detail from an icon, above.

    That Pope Vitilian moved him through the pipeline so quickly is a testament to Theodore’s wisdom, devotion and vitality. Forced to leave his home city Tarsus (in present day Turkey) because of Muslim invasions, Theodore landed in a monastary in Rome, studying Greek, Latin, the Bible and who knows what else. Certainly, a lot. 

    After his consecration, at the age of 66, Theodore traveled from Rome to England to take his seat in the See of Canterbury. At 70 years old, after having traveled by foot across England, reforming and uniting the church, Theodore returned to establish a school in Canterbury. There Theodore passed on his knowledge of languages, and instructed students in Holy Scripture, poetry, astronomy, mathematics, church history and sacred music. The result was a Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon scholarship.

    It was clear to Theodore, and to many of us I’m sure, that an education must be diverse, compelling and exercise the body, mind and spirit. It is a relief to know that 1400 years ago, at the very heart of our own faith tradition, was an approach to learning that said it is possible, even crucial, that people with deep religious devotion open themselves to the wisdom of the arts and sciences. 

    I’m no Theodore of Tarsus, but I am excited to facilitate some learning here at St. Luke’s. Over the next two Sundays I am leading a forum on the Book of Common Prayer and its role as an instrument of unity in the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion. This ubiquitous book of 1001 pages is both familiar in its cover and relatively untapped in its content. 

    I look forward to hearing about your experiences with this book and sharing some bits and pieces of it with you. I’m looking forward to Sunday! If you are too, invite a friend to come and see what’s happening at St. Luke’s at the heart of Sea Cliff!

    Fr. Jesse

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