St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop and Martyr

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury, was murdered in his own cathedral in 1170. Soon after his death there were reports of miracles at his grave and he was canonized only two years after his death. His life entails the story of the power struggle between church and state in medieval society.

Thomas was born in England on December 21, 1118, son of Matilda and Gilbert, who was sheriff of London. He studied at Merton Priory in Surrey, studied law in London and continued his education at the University of Paris.

Due to an arrangement his parents had made, Thomas was able to serve in the household of Theobold, archbishop of Canterbury. The archbishop was so pleased with Thomas’ service that he was eventually named archdeacon of the cathedral. At some point he met and became friends with young King Henry II. As a seal of their friendship, Henry named Thomas his chancellor. Later when Archbishop Theobold died, Henry appointed Thomas to replace the archbishop. At first Thomas declined, as he feared it would damage their friendship, but he finally relented and accepted. At the time he was only a deacon so he had first to be ordained a priest before becoming an archbishop. The ordination took place just one day prior to his official appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury.

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St. Thomas Becket, Archbishop and Martyr

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