Today the church remembers Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1556.Thomas Cranmer was Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of both Henry VIII and Edward VI, and he presided over the reform of the Church of England. He was the chief composer of The Book of Common Prayer. He was one of the foremost scholars of his day, an eminent student of Holy Scripture and Liturgy. Cranmer was convinced that a thorough reform of the church was needed in his day. When Mary Tudor ascended the throne, Cranmer was imprisoned and convicted of heresy. He was burned at the stake at Oxford on March 21, 1556. Prior to the execution he had, under duress, signed recantations repudiating his reforming activities. For this he publicly repented and at the stake he is said to have willfully placed his right hand into the flames, saying, “This hand hath offended.” For all martyrs and for those whose witness has renewed the church, we give you thanks, Lord God. Amen.
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Merciful God, through the work of Thomas Cranmer you renewed the worship of your Church by restoring the language of the people, and through his death you revealed your power in human weakness: Grant that by your grace we may always worship you in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.