Faithful Friday: Hugh Latimer

By Maya Kirl

Hugh Latimer was born in Leicestershire in 1487. There isn’t much known about his childhood other than he started studying Latin grammar at the age of four. He studied at the University of Cambridge and was elected a fellow of Clare College in 1510. He was ordained a priest in July of 1515. He continued his theological studies and received a Bachelor of Divinity degree. This degree was disputed because there were new ideas of the Reformation emerging. Latimer joined a group of reformers including Thomas Bliney. Thomas Bliney had a great impact on Latimer, encouraging him to accept the reformed doctrines of the Reformation. Latimer began to talk about the need for the Bible to be translated into English, which was a dangerous decision. He was given a warning to stop saying these things. In 1535, he was appointed Bishop of Worcester (the first appointment after the Reformation) but was then forced to resign after he opposed King Henry VIII’s Six Articles. In 1554, commissioners from the papal party began an investigation of Latimer and his colleagues. Latimer argued that the doctrines of the real presence of Christ in the Mass, transubstantiation and the propitiatory merit of the Mass were unbiblical. The commissioners did not agree with him and said that his faith was not the same as the Church Fathers. The commissioners knew that his disagreement involved the salvation of souls. Latimer was burned at the stake for these beliefs. Latimer’s and others deaths have been commemorated as the Oxford Martyrs.

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