It is the 28th of June 2020. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. I'm Dan van Voorhis.
The year was 1491.
In 1491, the monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand were dealing with a handful of issues. The Conquest of Granada was coming to an end. And the case of the Holy Child of La Guardia came to a close with the killing of 9 people, 3 Jews, and 6 Christian converts from Judaism. The story was that several Jewish conspirators kidnapped a child in the village of La Guardia before Easter. The men also obtained, according to this story, a consecrated host. The story was that they crucified the child on Good Friday, then removed his heart to burn with the host. The story was that those ashes could then be put into wells to poison the population. There is no evidence that the child ever existed, but this would fan the flames of anti-Semitism, and the folk saint, the Holy Child of La Guardia, became a local icon.
In England, 1491 was the sixth year of the reign of Henry Tudor, earl of Richmond, who had taken the throne from Richard III. Quick backstory: Richard died at the Battle of Bosworth Field, marking the end of the Wars of the Roses. Shakespeare has written an entire play about this guy. Richard was the lord protector when his brother died, leaving his brother's son to take the throne when he grew up. Richard had his young nephew declared illegitimate, and Richard declared himself King. Richard had two sons who would then be presumably next in line. Ever suspicious, it is said that Richard had his two sons taken to the tower, they were never seen again until, in 1491, when a man arriving in Ireland claimed to be one of the sons of the now-deceased Richard. The man claimed to be Richard, Duke of York, now rightly King Richard IV. Margaret of York and James IV of Scotland believed the man to be the rightful heir to the throne, or maybe they didn't like Henry Tudor. The man who claimed to be the prince and heir was one Perkin Warbeck, a man we know little about because he was a liar and grifter. However, despite the unreliability of his backstory, historians and authors have had a field day with who he may have been.
Henry's hold on the kingdom was tenuous. He was harmed by economic upheaval in the wake of the deadly wars. This, mixed with a plague, could have spelled a quick end to this new Tudor dynasty. But Henry Tudor of the House of Lancaster took Elizabeth of York as his wife, thus bringing together the two families behind the Wars of the Roses. Their first son, Arthur, died when he was 15. Their next child was a daughter named Margaret Tudor. She would go onto become the Queen of Scotland with her marriage to the Stuart, James IV. However, it was their third child whose name would become synonymous with England and the coming Reformation.
It was on this the 28th of June in 1491 that Elizabeth of York would give birth to the future King of England and head of the English church: Henry VIII. The story of Henry VIII is pretty well known. Known for his enormous appetite in all things, he went through wives like Larry King, either for the thrill or for political expediency. His wives were Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard, and Catherine Parr. To remember their names, you can use the phrase All Boys Should Come Home Please, the first letter of each word representing the last name of each Queen. To help remember their fates: divorced, beheaded, and died; divorced, beheaded, and survived.
Of course, it was the first divorce, technically an annulment, that led the King to break from the Catholic church. Catherine of Aragon was technically married to Arthur, the first Tudor son, who died at 15. The marriage was important as she was the daughter of the aforementioned Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain. The Emperor at the time was Charles V, Catherine's nephew. The Pope wouldn't annul the marriage because he needed the support of the Emperor. Eventually, Henry had himself declared head of the English church with the aid of protestant advisors, thus, Henry's creation of the Anglican Church. It's a longer story, but it all began on this day, the 28th of June, in 1491.
The reading for today comes from the theologian Gerhard Forde, from his "On Being A Theologian of the Cross:"
“As sinners we are like addicts - addicted to ourselves and our own projects. The theology of glory simply seeks to give those projects eternal legitimacy. The remedy for the theology of glory, therefore, cannot be encouragement and positive thinking, but rather the end of the addictive desire. Luther says it directly: "The remedy for curing desire does not lie in satisfying it, but in extinguishing it." So we are back to the cross, the radical intervention, end of the life of the old and the beginning of the new.”
This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 28th of June 2020 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org. The show is produced by Pretender to the Throne Christopher Gillespie. The show is written and read by Dan van Voorhis. You can catch us here every day. and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness, and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.