December 29, 2007

Thomas a Becket of Canterbury

In the Canterbury Tales, the pilgrims are on the way to the tomb of the martyred Saint Thomas Becket.

Thomas wasn't especially religious when King Henry II made him the 39th archbishop of Canterbury in the twelfth century. He was a drinking buddy, and companion in arms - but he got religion at this post. This changed everything and soon Thomas' friends and the King started grumbling, and quarreling over the separation of church and state. Hearing they wanted to be rid of this troublesome priest that stood in their way, overzealous soldiers stormed the cathedral and bashed out Thomas' brains on this day in 1170.

The drama, "Murder in the Cathedral" by TS Eliot is based on these events. And then Richard Burton plays Thomas in the movie "Becket". Every year when his day rolls around again, I tell myself that I need to watch this movie, but haven't yet. Maybe I'll go now and order it from Netflix before I forget.
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