More on Thomas Becket

More on Thomas Becket:

Thomas was an able man who, in 1154, rose to be Chancellor of England. He was a loyal supporter of his king, Henry II, for eight years. When Henry secured his appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1162, the king expected Thomas to do his bidding in respect of the Church as well. Thomas put his sacred duties as archbishop first and resigned the Chancellorship, which did not please Henry. Their relations soured as Thomas continued to defend the rights of the Church, even when it meant clashing with the King. Their differences became more and more acrimonious. 

Thomas BecketThings got so bad that in 1164 Thomas went into temporary exile in France. Henry's anger at Thomas' actions apparently led four knights to believe that the King literally wanted him dead, and when Thomas returned to England in 1170 they went to Canterbury and on Christmas Day murdered him in the cathedral. There was huge shock throughout the Christian world and Thomas was immediately seen as a martyr. He was declared a saint in 1173 and the practice of making a pilgrimage to his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral soon became established. 

Among the miracles credited to Thomas were many examples of healing the sick. Sometimes he seemed to heal people from a distance, if they prayed to him, and in such cases it was usual to make the pilgrimage later to the actual shrine, give an offering and give thanks to the saint in Canterbury. Chaucer's opening lines in The Canterbury Tales mention this as a motive for his pilgrims' journey.

Scan and go

Scan on your mobile for direct link.