Bienheureux Germain Gardiner, Jean Larke et Jean Ireland
Martyrs en Angleterre (✝ 1544)
Germain, élève de Cambridge, fut le secrétaire de l’évêque de Winchester. Arrêté avec Jean Larke et Jean Ireland, il fut exécuté avec eux à Tyburn, à Londres pour sa fidélité à l’Eglise romaine, refusant la primauté du roi comme chef spirituel de l’Eglise d’Angleterre.
Jean Larke avait été nommé recteur de Chelsea par son ami, saint Thomas More dont Jean Ireland était le secrétaire avant de devenir lui-même recteur à Eltham, dans le Kent.
Béatifiés en 1886.
À Londres, en 1544, les bienheureux martyrs Jean Larke et Jean Ireland, prêtres, et Germain Gardiner. Pour avoir refusé de reconnaître au roi Henri VIII le titre de chef suprême de l’Église d’Angleterre, ils furent convaincus de trahison et pendus au gibet de Tyburn.
SOURCE : http://nominis.cef.fr/contenus/saint/10738/Bienheureux-Germain-Gardiner--Jean-Larke-et-Jean-Ireland.html
Blessed Jermyn Gardiner,
John Larke & John Ireland MM (AC)
Died 1544; the first two were beatified in 1886; Ireland in 1929. Blessed Jermyn (German) was educated at Cambridge. He became secretary to Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester, and was executed at Tyburn near London with John Larke and John Ireland for denying the royal supremacy.
These last two were secular priests. John Larke was rector of Saint Ethelburga's Bishopsgate, then of Woodford, Essex, and finally of Chelsea, to which he was nominated by Saint Thomas More.
John Ireland, after being chaplain to the same saint, was made rector of Eltham, Kent (Benedictines).
- Jermyn Gardiner
Educated at the University of Cambridge, England. Secretary to the bishop of Winchester, England. Martyred with Blessed John Larke for refusing to recognize the spiritual supremacy of the King of England.
Bl. German Gardiner
Last martyr under Henry VIII; date of birth unknown; died at Tyburn, 7 March, 1544; secretary to, and probably a kinsmen of, Stephen Gardiner, and an able defender of the old Faith, as his tract against John Frith (dated 1 August, 1534) shows. During the years of fiery trial, which followed, we hear no more of him than that "he was stirred up to courage" by the examples of the martyrs, and especially by More, a layman like himself. His witness was given eight years later, under remarkable circumstances. Henry VIII was becoming more severe upon the fast-multiplying heretics. Canmer fell under suspicion, and Gardiner was (or was thought to have been) employed in drawing up a list of that heresiarch's errors in the Faith. Then the whim of the religious despot changed again, and the Catholic was sacrificed in the heretic's place. Still he was the last victim, and Henry afterwards became even more hostile to Protestantism. Gardiner's indictment states plainly that he was executed for endeavouring "to deprive the King of his dignity, title, and name of Supreme Head of the English and Irish Church", and his constancy is further proved by this circumstance, that Thomas Haywood, who had been condemned with him, was afterward pardoned on recanting his opinions. His other companions at the bar were Blessed John Larke, priest, whom Blessed Thomas More had presented to the rectory of Chelsea (when he himself lived in that parish), and also the Ven. John Ireland, who had once been More's chaplain. They suffered the death of traitors at Tyburn.
Camm, Lives of English Martyrs (London, 1904), i, 543-7; Strype, Canmer (1694), 163-8; More, Life of More (1726), 278.
Pollen, John Hungerford. "Bl. German Gardiner." The Catholic Encyclopedia. Vol. 6. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1909. 7 Mar. 2017 <http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06474b.htm>.
Ecclesiastical approbation. Nihil Obstat. September 1, 1909. Remy Lafort, Censor. Imprimatur. +John M. Farley, Archbishop of New York.
Stephen Gardiner's Nephew, Blessed Germain Gardiner
Blessed Germain or Jermyn or German Gardiner was executed at Tyburn on March 7, 1544 at Tyburn. He was beatified in 1886 by Pope Leo XIII. As Bishop of Winchester Stephen Gardiner's nephew and secretary, he became involved in the Prebendaries' Plot of 1543 and was hung, drawn, and quartered for the denial of Henry VIII's Supremacy over the Church of England.
The Prebendaries' Plot was named after the five prebendary canons of Canterbury Cathedral (including William Hadleigh, a monk at Christchurch Canterbury prior to the monastery's dissolution) who formed its core. Others involved were two holders of the new cathedral office of "six preacher" (created in 1541), along with various local non-cathedral priests and Kentish gentlemen (eg Thomas Moyle, Edward Thwaites and Cyriac Pettit). Simultaneous agitation at the court in Windsor, and the conspiracy in general, was led covertly by Stephen Gardiner, bishop of Winchester.
Henry VIII's chaplain Richard Cox was charged with investigating and suppressing it, and his success (240 priests and 60 laypeople of both sexes were accused of involvement) led to his being made Cranmer's chancellor (and later, under Elizabeth, bishop of Ely). Gardiner survived, though his relation German Gardiner, who had acted as his secretary and intermediary to the plotters in Kent, was executed in 1544for questioning the Royal Supremacy.
So Blessed Germain Gardiner was left as the scapegoat to suffer for the plot, while Henry VIII, still valuing Bishop Stephen Gardiner's efforts in supporting both Henry's "Great Matter" and his more "conservative" reformation of the Church, spared his uncle.
Along with Gardiner, Blessed John Larke, friend of St. Thomas More and former rector of Chelsea (More's parish) and Blessed John Ireland, also connected with St. Thomas More and Chelsea, were executed for denying Henry VIII's Supremacy. Robert Singleton, a parish priest, was also executed under a charge of treason, but he has not been beatified. John Heywood, the playwright and grandfather of John Donne was also on the scaffold at Tyburn sentenced to death, but he recanted and was spared. He also had connections to St. Thomas More and survived the ups and downs of the Tudor succession until Elizabeth I's reign. Then he went into exile in Mechelen, Belgium where he died around 1580.
Beati Giovanni Larke, Giovanni Ireland e Germano Gardiner Martiri
† Tyburn, Londra, Inghilterra, 7 marzo 1544
Martirologio Romano: A Londra in Inghilterra, beati martiri Giovanni Larke e Giovanni Ireland, sacerdoti e Germano Gardiner, che per la loro fedeltà al Romano Pontefice morirono impiccati a Tyburn, sotto il re Enrico VIII.
Il martirio dei tre beati oggi festeggiati si colloca nel contesto delle persecuzioni anticattoliche suscitate in Inghilterra dalla nascita della Chiesa Anglicana e fomentate dagli stessi sovrani inglesi, interessati a salvaguardare l’unità religiosa della nazione.
Ben poco sappiamo della vita di John Larke, ma pare cosa certa che all’epoca del suo martirio avesse già un’età abbastanza avanzata. Dal 1504 era rettore di Santa Etelburga, Bishopsgate e conservò tale incarico sino a pochi anni della tragica morte. Nel 1526 fu nominato rettore di Woodford nell’Essex, ma rinunciò alla prestigiosa carica quando quattro anni dopo il celeberrimo cancelliere inglese San Thomas More gli affidò il medesimo incarico a Chelsea. Cresacre More, nella sua “Vita di Moro” ebbe a testimoniare: “La morte [di Moro] impressionò in modo particolare Larke, suo parroco, che, seguendo l’esempio del proprio discepolo, arrivò al martirio per la stessa causa [l’Atto di Supremazia], e divenne ancor più famoso”.
German Gardiner era un laico, segretario di Stefano Gardiner del quale assai probabilmente era anche parente. Trovatosi in controversia con i riformatori, prese a considerare piuttosto quali eroi quei martiri morti in difesa delle prerogative del papato. Il Cresacre nella sua opera citò anche lui: “German Gardiner, un laico brillante, istruito e santo, che venne condannato a morte circa otto anni dopo [Moro] dichiarò di fronte a tutti coloro che erano venuti ad assistere alla sua esecuzione che doveva il suo coraggio alla santa semplicità dei certosini, ai magnifici insegnanti del vescovo di Rochester ed alla saggezza unica di Tommaso Moro”.
Il 15 febbraio 1544 dinnanzi alla corte di Westminster vennero condotti, oltre a John Larke e German Gardin, anche John Ireland, sacerdote secolare di cui si sa poco o nulla, ed il laico John Heywood, che poi rinnegò la sua fede. La loro condanna a morte fu emessa con l’accusa di “tentato tradimento contro il re, in materia della di lui dignità, titolo e nome di Capo Supremo della Chiesa d’Inghilterra e d’Irlanda, con parole, scritti ed azioni”. I tre martiri vennero impiccati e squartati il 7 marzo 1544.
La loro glorificazione terrena ha seguito tempi diversi: i sacerdote John Larke ed il laico German Gardiner furono beatificati già nel 1886, mentre il sacerdote John Ireland fu beatificato solo nel 1929.
Autore: Fabio Arduino