In 1170 AD, four knights seeking the favor of King Henry II burst into Canterbury Cathedral. The Archbishop, Thomas Becket, was an opponent of the Constitutions of Clarendon. Henry’s policies aimed at weakening the independence of the clergy and Rome’s authority. Thomas refused to sign the documents. In defying the king – he sealed his fate.
“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”
King Henry’s words would be interpreted as royal decree. Sir Reginald FitzUrse, Hugh de Morville, William de Tracy, and Richard le Breton stormed the hallowed halls of the cathedral. The four planned to force the rebellious archbishop to submit to the kings will through violence. But Thomas refused. The holyman’s final words before he died of his wounds were,“ For the name of Jesus and the protection of the church, I am ready to embrace death.”
Soon after, catholics throughout Europe venerated Becket as a martyr. The archbishop’s assassins fled north to Hugh de Morville’s castle in exile. But the murderers could not outrun their excommunication at the hands of Pope Alexander. Their absolution could only be attained once they served a period of 14 years in defense of the holy land.
Only three of the knights would complete their penance. In an attempt to escape his service – Sir Reginald abandoned Jerusalem. This second act of sacrilidge ensured the knight’s condemnation at God’s hand. Stripped of his grace, Sir Reginald is now hated by his fellow man and hunted by dark forces.
Redemption only lies in service. Having rejected his opportunity to makes amends through the Pope, Sir Reginald now must do so directly with God. For 14 years he will battle evil, but if he fails… his soul will be damned to hell.
More to come…