Saint Thomas More was an English lawyer, author, philosopher, and statesman of the Catholic Church who served as Lord Chancellor of England from 1529 to 1532. He is venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More, patron saint of lawyers,statesmen, politicians, and difficult marriages. He is commemorated in the Church of England as a martyr and Reformation hero.
Born in London in 1478, Thomas More was the son of John More, a lawyer and judge. He was educated at St. Anthony's School and then at Oxford University, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1492. After graduating, Thomas More studied law in London, and was admitted to the bar in 1501. He was appointed to the Privy Council of Henry VIII in 1518, and was knighted in 1521. In 1529, he was appointed Lord Chancellor of England, a position he held until 1532.
Thomas More is best known for his refusal to accept King Henry VIII's annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon and his subsequent refusal to acknowledge Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England. This led to his imprisonment in the Tower of London and eventual execution in 1535. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935 and was declared a Reformation martyr by the Church of England in 1886.
His feast day is celebrated on June 22nd, the day of his martyrdom, and May 4th, the day of his canonization. He is also remembered on November 3rd, the day of his beatification in 1886.
Some interesting facts about Saint Thomas More are that he was a noted humanist and a friend of Erasmus, and that he wrote Utopia, a highly influential work of fiction and political philosophy. He was also known for his wit and humor, and he was a devoted and loving father to his four children. He is one of the few saints to have a play written about him, The Life and Death of Thomas More, by Anthony Munday. He is also the subject of a children's book, Sir Thomas More and the Holy Grail, and the subject of two movies, A Man for All Seasons and The Other Boleyn Girl.