SS Thomas More and John Fisher (9 July)

In England and Wales, the feasts of SS Thomas More (martyr) and St John Fisher (bishop and martyr) are celebrated.

St Thomas More's story is well-known; St John Fisher's perhaps less so.

Like More, he treasured learning, encouraging the study of Greek and Hebrew, and indeed was vice-chancellor, and subsequently chancellor, of the University of Cambridge.

He was appointed bishop of Rochester at Henry VII's insistence.

Renowned as a preacher, he also served as tutor to the future Henry VIII.

Like More, he was part of the active resistance to attempts by Lutheranism to gain ground in England.

But he was also Catherine of Aragon's chief supporter in the cause of her marriage, and after St Thomas More's resignation from the chancellorship of England, preached a sermon against the divorce. 

He was arrested shortly after Cranmer's appointment as Archbishop of Canterbury, in order to prevent him opposing Cranmer's pronouncement of the divorce.  He was attainted of treason in March 1534, but subsequently pardoned, only to be attained again a few months later for refusing to take the oath of succession. 

Kept in prison in harsh circumstances, the Pope hoped to ease the terms of his imprisonment by appointing him a Cardinal: but it had the opposite effect, and he was executed on June 22, 1535.

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