Thomas Cranmer was born 527 years ago, on 2nd July, 1489.
He was responsible, as writer and editor, for The Book of Common Prayer, which gave access for the first time to English versions of all the services of the church.
The Book of Common Prayer was published in 1552, and it forms the basis of the services of the Anglican Church still in use today.
portrait by Gerlach Flicke
Four years later Thomas Cranmer was dead, burned alive for his religious beliefs.
Whether or not you share Cranmer's faith, the language of his prayer book is surpassingly beautiful. Here's his version of the song Mary sings upon hearing that she is to give birth to His son. It's usually still called by its Latin title of The Magnificat.
My soule doth magnifie the lorde,
And my spirite hath rejoyced in God my savioure.
For he hathe regarded the lowlinesse of hys handemaiden.
For beholde, from henceforth all generacions shal cal me blessed.
For he that is mightye hath magnified me, and holy is his name.
And his mercie is on them that feare him throughoute all generacions.
He hath showed strength with his arme, he hath scatered the proude in the imaginacion of their hartes.
He hath put down the mightie from their seate: and hath exalted the humble and meeke.
He hath filled the hungrye with good thynges: and the riche he hath sente awaye emptye.
He remembring his mercie, hath holpen his servaunt Israel: as he promised to oure fathers, Abraham and his seede for ever.
Glory be to the father and to the sonne and to the holy gost.
As it was in the beginning, & is now, and ever shall be worlde without ende.
Word To Use Today: magnificat. The opening line of this song in Latin is magnificat anima mea Dominum, my soul does praise the Lord.