THE FEAST DAY AND HISTORY OF WILLIAM LAUD, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY - WRITTEN BY DR. GIL HAAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
In 1633, William Laud was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury by England’s king Charles I. Laud supported liturgical practices that today would be labeled “high church”. He defended the continuity of the English Church with the medieval Church (i.e. Catholic), and he supported the wearing of surplices, the placing of the communion table—railed off from the congregation—at the east end of the chancel, and bowing at the mention of the name of Jesus. All of these actions seemed to Puritans as popery and may have promulgated their exit to the New World. Laud visited every church in England to censure Protestant ministers. However, Laud did have some commonality with Puritans including the unrelenting quest for the godly life and the hatred of corruption and extravagance. During the Civil War, Laud was accused of treason in 1640, and he was imprisoned in 1641. In 1644 he was brought to trial, but it proved impossible to point to any specific action that was truly treasonable. Parliament eventually passed a bill under which Laud was beheaded at 71 years of age on January 10, 1645 Today (January 10) is the date of his feast day on the Episcopal calendar.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church
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