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About this commemoration
Hugh Latimer was the outstanding English preacher of the Reformation. His sermons against ecclesiastical abuses led to several trials for heresy, but no proof could be established against his orthodoxy. Latimer was little interested in the reﬁnements of doctrine; his zeal was concentrated on the moral life of Christian clergy and people.
Born of yeoman stock about 1490 in Leicestershire, Latimer graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, and became a Fellow in 1510. Though a conservative, he was attracted to the new currents of reform stemming from the Continental Reformation of the 1520’s. King Henry VIII made him a royal chaplain in 1530, and ﬁve years later appointed him to the See of Worcester, a position he relinquished in 1539 in opposition to the king’s reactionary policies against the progress of the Reformation.
In the reign of Edward VI, Latimer became prominent again as a preacher, but he refused to resume his see. With the accession of Queen Mary in 1553 he was imprisoned, and on October 16, 1555, he was burned at the stake in Oxford alongside Bishop Nicholas Ridley.
Nicholas Ridley was born in Northumberland, and was educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge. While there he belonged to a circle of young men deeply attracted to the currents of reform inspired by the Continental Reformation.
A supporter of Archbishop Cranmer’s reforming agenda, Ridley became the Archbishop’s Chaplain in 1537, and vicar of Herne, Kent, in 1538. He was chosen Master of Pembroke in 1540, and chaplain to Henry VIII and Canon of Canterbury in 1541. Two years later he was acquitted of a charge of heresy.
Early in the reign of Edward VI, Ridley was made Bishop of Rochester and participated with Cranmer in the preparation of the ﬁrst Book of Common Prayer. He was translated to the See of London in 1550, where he was a strong advocate for and administrator of the principles of the Reformation. His unwillingness to recant of his Protestant theology and his opposition to the accession of Queen Mary led to his condemnation and his execution at the side of Bishop Latimer.
I Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like thy servants Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, we may live in thy fear, die in thy favor, and rest in thy peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
II Keep us, O Lord, constant in faith and zealous in witness, that, like your servants Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley, we may live in your fear, die in your favor, and rest in your peace; for the sake of Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Lessons: Zephaniah 3:1–5, 1 Corinthians 3:9–14, and John 15:20–16:1
Preface of a Saint (1)
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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