John Fisher

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Fisher, John

(Saint John Fisher), c.1469–1535, English prelate, cardinal, bishop of Rochester (1504–34). Known for his scholarship at Cambridge, he was chosen confessor to Margaret BeaufortBeaufort, Margaret, countess of Richmond and Derby
, 1443–1509, English noblewoman, mother of Henry VII. She was the daughter and heiress of John, 1st duke of Somerset, and great-granddaughter of John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster.
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, mother of Henry VII. As vice chancellor of the university (1501–4) and chancellor thereafter, he helped carry out her plans for establishing St. John's College and Christ's College. As bishop he was firm in his denunciation of abuses by the clergy; however, he resisted reforms, like those of Martin Luther, that affected doctrines of the church. Giving his support to the new learning, he brought Erasmus to lecture at the university. Fisher, who was confessor to Katharine of Aragón, was the only English bishop to oppose the invalidation of the marriage of Henry VIII and Katharine. He refused to acknowledge the king as supreme head of the church and to accede to the Act of Succession, which declared Katharine's child (Mary I) illegitimate. In 1534 he was imprisoned in the Tower and deprived of his bishopric. Pope Paul III, to show his support, created Fisher a cardinal in May, 1535. Henry, infuriated, pushed the trial forward. A fortnight before Sir Thomas More was executed, Fisher was beheaded on Tower Hill. He was canonized as a martyr in 1935. Most of the Latin writings that he left were published in 1597. Some of his English works still remain in manuscript. Feast: July 9.


See T. Bayly, The Life and Death of That Renowned John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (1635, new ed. 1893); B. Bradshaw and D. Eamon, ed., Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher (1989); biography by E. E. Reynolds (1955); study by E. L. Surtz (1967).

References in periodicals archive ?
With the greatest respect, do we remember Thomas More or Pope Paul III, the martyr Bishop John Fisher or his contemporary the careerist priest Stephen Gardiner?
He then presents a good argument for Bishop John Fisher (possessor of the perfect ecclesiastical mind) as the conservative reformer, compares and contrasts Pole and Cranmer (to the latter's discomfort), and looks at relations between English Catholics and Rome after Edward VI.
More refused to take the oath required under that law as well, as did Bishop John Fisher, the only bishop in all of England who would not submit to the King's new ecclesiastical order.
During Henry VIII's reign he gave evidence against both Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher which helped to have them executed for treason.
He and fellow martyr Bishop John Fisher, lauded by Pius XI as "grand lighthouses set up to shine upon and enlighten in the ways of God," were canonized.
They are consistently original and illuminating regarding her deep and emotional relationship with Bishop John Fisher, her confessor and the catalyst for her founding of St.
Editor: Bishop John Fisher was imprisoned in April, 1534.

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