The 22nd of June is a day some of us recall when heads rolled. On this day we remember three Englishmen who lost their heads by keeping their faith.
The first English martyr, lived in a small Roman town north of London called Verulamium. Alban had his head removed in a Roman persecution against Christians probably in 304. The town of Verulamium soon became a site of pilgrimage to his St. Alban’s tomb and the town is today called St. Albans in his honour.
The next Englishman to lose his head for his beliefs was a great scholar and humanist in the days when humanists actually believed in God. John Fisher was the chancellor of Cambridge for many years and the personal spiritual guide to King Henry XVIII’s mother. He also was the future King’s tutor.
John Fisher probably wrote the famous rebuttal against Luther which was attributed to Henry XVIII and won the king and all his successors the title; “Defender of the Faith” bestowed upon him by a grateful Pope.
The tragic and evil irony of King Henry XVIII was that he betrayed his early loyalties for power and wealth. John Fisher refused to recognize the King’s second wife as Queen and so the student had his master’s head lopped-off. The sentiment in London at the time was that John Fisher’s life mirrored John the Baptist.
At around the same time, another Church prelate also had his head removed for refusing to accept Henry as the head of the Church in England. Before he was decapitated though, Thomas More lived a full and successful life. A humanist and promoter of women’s education More reintroduced the Utopia as a literary genre to our civilization and coined even the word.
Not shy of vulgarity in defence of his King, More was responsible for the following words against Luther in which he offers to: “throw back into your paternity’s shitty mouth, truly the shit-pool of all shit, all the muck and shit which your damnable rottenness has vomited up”. His King loved it but within a decade, the King would have the head that contained the brain that thought-up these words, removed from the body that sustained it.
Would you be willing to lose your head for your faith? I’m not certain that I would.
– Posted by Douglas Racionzer (serendipday.blogspot.com)