Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1556 | For All the Saints

Source: Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, 1556 | For All the Saints

“Thomas Cranmer was the principal figure in the Reformation of the English Church and was primarily responsible both for the first Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and for its first revision in 1552, as well as for the first version of the Articles of Religion.”

A man of inestimable importance to Anglicans!

“The only public liturgical reforms of any consequence [during the reign of King Henry VIII] were the king’s order that an English Bible be placed in every church, and the publication in 1544 of the English Litany, drawn up by Cranmer at the king’s request during wartime.

“However, as is clear from recent scholarly research, Cranmer’s liturgical ideas were well-formed by the end of Henry’s reign, and he had already done much work in reforming the breviary and the mass.

“In the reign of King Edward the Sixth, Cranmer had a free hand in reforming the worship, doctrine, and practice of the Church, leading to the publication of the first two editions of the Book of Common Prayer [1549 and 1552], which would come to be the defining text of Anglicanism.”

Archbishop Cranmer is therefore the “founding father” of The Book of Common Prayer, and as such, of the Anglican expression of Christianity. We who are Anglicans owe him a great debt of gratitude.