Theodore I of Rome

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Pope Theodore I of Rome was the Pope of Rome from 642 to 649. His pontificate was deeply involved in the struggle against the heresy of Monothelitism. His feast day in celebrated on May 18.[1]


Theodore came from Jerusalem, son of a bishop, and was of Greek ancestry. His date of birth is unknown. He was a cardinal deacon, (possibly around 640) and became a full cardinal under Pope John IV. He was elected to succeed Pope John IV, after his short reign, and was quickly confirmed by the Eastern Roman Exarch of Ravenna, possibly because of his Greek ancestry. He was consecrated on November 24, 642.

Theodore was a strong opponent of the position of emperor Heraclius who had decreed that everyone must accept the teaching of one will in the two natures of the Savior, a heresy generally referred to as Monothelitism. He also holder of ecclesiastical order as when Patriarch Pyrrhus was deposed in 641, Theodore did not recognize Paul, Pyrrhus' successor, as Patriarch of Constantinople, because the deposition of Pyrrhus had not been canonical, and emphasized in letters to Paul and his consecrating bishops the need of securing the legal deposition of Pyrrhus. Theodore also pressed emperor Constans II to withdraw the Ecthesis of Heraclius.

While Theodore's efforts made little impression on Constantinople, it encouraged opposition to the heresy. Pyrrhus even briefly recanted his heresy after debating Maximus the Confessor, but later recanted, leading to his excommunication in 649.

Theodore also initiated planning for a council to condemn the Ecthesis, but the Lateran Council of 649 convened after his death.

Theodore was an active pontiff who was good to the poor and a benefactor of his churches. He reposed on May 14, 649 and was buried in St. Peter's Basilica.


  1. Great Synaxaristes: (Greek) Ὁ Ἅγιος Θεόδωρος ὁ Ἱερομάρτυρας Ἐπίσκοπος Ρώμης. 18 Μαΐου. ΜΕΓΑΣ ΣΥΝΑΞΑΡΙΣΤΗΣ.

Succession box:
Theodore I of Rome
Preceded by:
John IV
Popes of Rome
Succeeded by:
Martin I
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