Portal:Saints/Selected biography/12

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Thomas Cranmer

Thomas Cranmer (2 July 1489 – 21 March 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI. He helped build a favourable case for Henry's divorce from Catherine of Aragon which resulted in the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. During Cranmer's tenure as archbishop, he was responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the Church of England. Under Henry's rule, he succeeded in publishing the first officially authorised vernacular service, the Exhortation and Litany. Later, he wrote and compiled the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer, a complete liturgy for the English Church. Cranmer promulgated reformed doctrines through the Prayer Book, the Homilies and other publications. Cranmer was tried for treason and heresy when Mary I came to the throne. Imprisoned for over two years, he made several recantations and reconciled himself with the Roman Catholic faith. However, on the day of his execution, he dramatically withdrew his recantations and died as a martyr. His legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles.