Martyr - Theologian - Archbishop - Soldier
[21 March 1556]
Architect of the Anglican Faith
Almighty God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer was martyred for his faith and service to the Church of England as theologian, soldier, and archbishop; Embolden us that we might serve thee with all our heart, mind, and soul; and grant that upon that last day, we might join with Thomas and all the saints before thy heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen
Thomas Cranmer served as the first Archbishop of the Church of England under Henry VIII and Henry's son, Edward VI. He authored the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and 1552. He was instrumental in establishing the Church of England as a Reformed Protestant Catholic Church under Edward VI. He authored or edited the first official set of homilies for the Church of England and the Articles of Religion. He is the architect of the Anglican faith.
Although not a professional soldier, Lord Cranmer did command a cavalry unit in the King's service arising from dominions he held by virtue of his office. He, fully armed, led that troop as it deployed and provided a defense and screen against an amphibious invasion force from France.
Cranmer was martyred at the stake on 21 March 1552 under Queen Mary for his faith. He had yeilded to the inquisition and confessed error in his theology, but recanted on the day he was to make his public confession before his execution for "treason". His friends, bishops Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, preceded him at the stake on 16 October 1555.
"I have sinned, in that I signed with my hand what I did not believe with my heart. When the flames are lit, this hand shall be the first to burn".
Short Biography * Homily on The Fear of Death I
Order of Centurions 21 March 2006 - 450th Anniversary of the Martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer