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Rome Reports

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Papal Audience about Saint Theodore

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today’s catechesis on the life and teaching of Saint Theodore the Studite places us at the heart of the medieval Byzantine period. Born in 759 to a noble and pious family, Theodore entered the monastery at the age of twenty-two. He vigorously opposed the iconoclastic movement since, he argued, abolishing images of Christ entails a rejection of his work of redemption. Theodore also initiated a thorough reform of the disciplinary, administrative and spiritual aspects of monastic life. A particularly important virtue according to Theodore is philergia – the love of work – since diligence in material tasks indicates fervour in one’s spiritual duties. He even described work as a type of "liturgy", asserting that the riches mined from it must be used to help the poor. The Studite’s Rule holds particular relevance for us today because it highlights the unity of faith and the need to resist the danger of spiritual individualism. May we heed Theodore’s summons to nurture the unity of the Body of Christ through well-ordered lives and by cultivating harmonious relationships with one another in the Holy Spirit.

I warmly greet all the English-speaking pilgrims. In a special way, I welcome members of the Schola Cantorum of Assumption Seminary in San Antonio, Texas; seminarians and priests from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan; and members of the Order of Knights of Saint John from Nigeria. God bless all of you!