Friday, September 19, 2014

Saint of the Month: St. Theodore of Tarsus


St. Theodore of Tarsus

AKA: Theodore of Canterbury
Not to be Confused With: St. Theodore of Bologna, St. Theodore of Chotep, St. Theodore of Cyrene, St. Theodore of Egypt, St. Theodore of Emesa, St. Theodore of Pavia, St. Theodore of Pelusium, St. Theodore of Stratelates, St. Theodore of Studites, St. Theodore of Studium, St. Theodore of Sykeon, St. Theodore of Tabenna, St. Theodore of Tarsus, or St. Theodore of Trichinas

Feast Day: September 19.

Really Existed? Definitely.
Timeframe: 602-690.
Place: England, ultimately.

Credentials: Recognized by tradition.
Martyrdom: None.

Patron Saint of: the Antiochian Orthodox Church in United Kingdom and Ireland.
Symbolism: None found.

I had never heard of Theodore of Tarsus, but it turns out he's a pretty big deal in the ecclesiastical history of Great Britain. You wouldn't expect that from a Tarsus boy. Tarsus is in Turkey, after all. It's where St. Paul hailed from. Yes, THE St. Paul, also known as Saul of Tarsus.

VOICEOVER: England. The 7th Century. Generations have passed since the Anglo-Saxons drove the Roman Empire out of Great Britain. Missionaries from both Celtic Britain and from the kingdoms of the continent have converted these warlike peoples to Christianity, but it is a restless, disorganized faith, lacking leadership, vision, and clear doctrine. From the chaos, one man rose up to claim the title of Archbishop of Cantebury and bring order to English Christianity. That man's name was... Wighard.

Unfortunately, he died of the plague in Rome before Pope Vitalian got around to consecrating him.

That's where Theodore of Tarsus comes in. He was a monk, not a priest, but he had the reputation of a sharp, educated guy in an era when sharp, educated guys were hard to come by. Already 65 in 668, he was nevertheless quite spry. Pope Vitalian appointed him to the Cantebury outpost and sent him off to do what he could do.

It turns out, he could do quite a bit, and he had more than two decades left in him. During his tenure, he established personal authority over the Church in England, bringing it fully in alignment with Rome for the first time.  This would last more than eight and a half centuries, until Henry VIII got the itch. He instituted a system of canon law and divided up the territory of the British dioceses, and both innovations stuck so well that they are largely intact within today's Anglican Church. He started a cathedral school at Canterbury that the Venerable Bede considered the Harvard of its day, although not of course in those words.

Peacemaker, scholar, and administrator extraordinaire, this Byzantine Greek from Turkey probably did as much as anyone to chart the course of British history. Unusually for a historical figure, no one seems to have a bad word to say about the man. He's revered within Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and Anglicanism alike. And today is his feast day!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Left Bracket Second Round: Hofmann v. Hicks!

Hans Hofmann
1880 - 1966
German; worked internationally

Beaten by Ferdinand Hodler in Round 1.
Beat fellow worker in bright abstractions Howard Hodgkin in First Round Elimination.






Edward Hicks
1780 - 1849
American

Beat Nicholas Hilliard in Round 1.
Lost badly to Andō Hiroshige in Round 2.






Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting, but likely much longer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round 3: Hiroshige v. Hodler!


Andō Hiroshige
1797 - 1858
Japanese

Defeated Meindert Hobbema in Round 1 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
Thumped on American folk painter Edward Hicks in Round 2.







Ferdinand Hodler
1853 - 1918
Swiss

Defeated Hans Hofmann in Round 1.
Tied with David Hockney in Round 2. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!
Outpolled big name Francisco Goya in a second try at Round 2.







Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round One: Liotard v. Lipchitz!

Jean-Étienne Liotard
1702 - 1789
Swiss



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Jacques Lipchitz
1891 - 1973
Lithuanian; worked in the U.S.A.



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Vote for the artist of your choice! Votes go in the comments. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round Two: Koons v. Krøyer!

Jeff Koons
born 1955
American

Slipped past Willem de Kooning in Round 1 by a two-vote swing. YOUR VOTE COUNTS!!!







Peter Severin Krøyer
1851 - 1900
Danish

Thumped Leon Kossoff in Round 1.







Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Infinite Art Tournament, Round Two: Ghirlandaio v. Kokoschka!

Domenico Ghirlandaio
1449 - 1494
Florentine

Tied with Lorenzo Ghiberti in his first try at Round One.
Beat Raoul Hausmann in the Round 1 tiebreaker.






Oskar Kokoschka
1886 - 1980
Austrian; worked internationally

Defeated Sir Godfrey Kneller easily in Round 1.






Vote for the artist of your choice in the comments, or any other way that works for you. Commentary and links to additional work are welcome. Polls open for at least one month past posting.