29.12.

Sacrilegious Murder of Thomas Becket – 1179

Sacrilegious Murder of Thomas Becket – 1179

Four English knights cut down the Archbishop St. Thomas Becket inside the Canterbury Cathedral.

On this day occurred one of the most famous events in English history – St. Thomas Becket was killed as a martyr in his own cathedral. He was in fact, at that time, the Archbishop of Canterbury and thus the first man of the Church of England. He came into conflict with English King Henry II Plantagenet. Henry was angry at the archbishop and on one occasion reportedly said something like: “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” Four knights from the king’s entourage interpreted that as a royal command and went to Canterbury. Hiding their armor under cloaks, they found the Archbishop at the Cathedral. When he refused to go with them, they took their weapons and hacked him to death on the cathedral floor. Three years later, the pope declared Thomas a saint and martyr and King Henry II made a public penance by coming to the saint’s tomb and repenting for causing his death.

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