Rome's Admiration of Theodora's Conduct

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 12
Nicolas I., who became pope of Rome in 858, highly commends, by letter, the conduct of the superstitious and cruel Theodora. He especially admires and approves her implicit obedience to the Roman see. "She resolved," he says, "to bring the Paulicians to the true faith, or cut them all off root and branch. Persuant to that resolution, she sent noblemen and magistrates into the different provinces of the empire; and by them some of those unhappy wretches were crucified, some put to the sword, and some thrown into the sea and drowned." Nicolas at the same time observes, that the heretics, experiencing in her all the resolution and vigor of a man, could scarcely believe her to be a woman. Indeed the blinding power of an idolatrous superstition had changed in Theodora (as it did in our queen, "the bloody Mary") the tender and compassionate heart of a woman into that of a merciless and blood-thirsty tyrant. From the pope's own words, it is perfectly evident that the Roman See had chiefly to do with the slaughter of the Paulicians. After telling her that the heretics dreaded, and at the same time admired, her resolution and steadiness in maintaining the purity of the catholic faith, he adds, "and why so, but because you followed the directions of the Apostolic See?"
It is difficult to believe that the professed vicar of Christ, and the shepherd of His sheep, could ever have put on record such sayings. But so he was permitted, and thus they have come down to us as the true witness of the established antichristian tyranny of Rome in the ninth century.