Thomas Cranmer (1489 – 1556) was a leader of the English Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and, for a short time, Mary I. He helped build the case for the annulment of Henry's marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which was one of the causes of the separation of the English Church from union with the Holy See. Along with Thomas Cromwell, he supported the principle of Royal Supremacy, in which the king was considered sovereign over the Church within his realm.
Cranmer was put on trial for treason and heresy. Imprisoned for over two years and under pressure from Church authorities, he made several recantations and apparently reconciled himself with the Roman Catholic Church. However, on the day of his execution, he withdrew his recantations, to die a heretic to Roman Catholics and a martyr for the principles of the English Reformation. Cranmer's death was immortalized in Foxe's Book of Martyrs and his legacy lives on within the Church of England through the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty-Nine Articles, an Anglican statement of faith derived from his work.
To the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us,
with the Father who made and created us,
and the + Son who redeemed us,
be given all honor and glory,
now and forever.
O Lord Jesus Christ,
you are the sun of the world,
evermore arising, and never going down,
which by your most welcome appearing and sight,
brings forth, preserves, nourishes,
and refreshes all things,
as well that are in heaven as also that are on earth;
We beg you mercifully and faithfully to shine in our hearts,
so that the night and darkness of sins,
and the mist of errors on every side
may be driven away;
with you brightly shining in our hearts
we may all our life go without stumbling or offense,
and may decently and seemly walk as in the day time,
being pure and clean from the works of darkness,
and abounding in all good works
which God has prepared us to walk in;
you who with the Father and with the Holy Ghost
live and reign for ever and ever. Amen.
you have given us your Holy Scriptures for our learning.
May we so hear them,
read, learn, and take them to heart,
that being strengthened and comforted by your holy Word,
we may cling to the blessed hope of everlasting life,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
you have taught us
that anything we do without love is worth nothing,
for whoever lives without love
is counted dead before you;
send your Holy Spirit,
and pour into our hearts
that most excellent gift of love,
the true bond of peace and of all virtues;
grant this for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ
who is alive with with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever.