On this day in 1533 – Thomas Cranmer was consecrated as Archbishop

On March 30th 1533 Thomas Cranmer was consecrated as Archbishop.

Upon the death of William Warham in 1532 Cranmer received the news of his appointment to Archbishop of Canterbury whilst in Italy on 1st October. Cranmer was ordered to return to England to take up his new post. Up until this point Cranmer had only ever held minor posts within the church but the influence Anne Boleyn had over Henry VIII changed this and Cranmer was appointed at the suggestion of Anne.

Henry VIII needed to acquire a papal bull to secure Cranmer’s position, something that could have been difficult if the papal nuncio (diplomat) had not been under orders from the Pope to keep Henry happy and grant him anything in an attempt to keep Henry from breaking from Rome. The papal bull arrived on 26th March 1533 and four days later on the 30th March Cranmer was consecrated at Archbishop in St Stephen’s Chapel at the Palace of Westminster.

As part of the consecration ceremony Cranmer was required to swear allegiance to the Pope, Clement VII, and any future Pope’s as well as defending the Roman Papacy. Henry had a problem with this part of the service because he wanted to eventually declare that the Pope had no authority in England, however he wanted the service to be correct in every way at the same time. A solution was found and before the ceremony Cranmer made a statement in the chapter house of Westminster before five lawyers. Cranmer proclaimed that he did not intend to be bound to his oath of serving the Pope that he was about to promise “if it was against the law of God or against our illustrious King of England, or the laws of his realm of England”

Archbishop Cranmer became the first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury.

Thomas Cranmer

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