Guyer’s Weblog

June 25, 2010

King Charles the Martyr: Our Own, Royal, Forgotten Saint

Filed under: Communio Anglicana,Meta-Category,Theologoumena — guyer @ 10:51 pm

King Charles I in the National Portrait Gallery (Artist Unknown)

Do you know who the first Anglican saint was? Here’s a hint: it wasn’t Henry VIII. The title of this article says it all, but don’t feel embarrassed if you are unaware of King Charles the Martyr. Since the founding of the Episcopal Church (USA), Anglicanism’s first and longest-loved saint has been curiously absent from our province’s liturgical calendar — and this despite repeated and growing calls for his reinstatement.

Sadly, the American case is not unique. Anglicans today pay scandalously little attention to the saint whose cult fueled the Anglican imagination for centuries. Yet King Charles the Martyr witnesses to important facets of the Anglican heritage, especially the Anglican Counter-Reformation and the importance of martyrs, miracles, and relics. If it is true, as many now claim, that Anglicans are out of touch with their history and tradition, then the life and legacy of King Charles the Martyr are important for our reintegration.

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