Thomas Becket

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Saint Thomas Becket
Archbishop of Canterbury 1162-1170
Birth December 21, 1119/1120
Death December 29, 1170
Kent, England
Feast Day December 29

Thomas Becket (1119/1120-1170) was Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162 to 1170 who defended the Church against demands by King Henry II. He was one of the three great medieval Archbishops of Canterbury (with Anselm before him and Stephen Langton after) to defend the Church in England against the Crown.

Knights of King Henry II interpreted his intense complaints about Becket as a call to murder him. The King's specific words which influenced the knights have been variously recorded: "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?", "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?", "Who will revenge me of the injuries I have sustained from one turbulent priest?", and "What a band of loathsome vipers I have nursed in my bosom who will let their lord be insulted by this low-born cleric!"

The King's knights murdered Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, and within three years he was canonized as a saint by the Church in Rome.