Oct. 11, 1521: “Fidei Defensor”

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On 11 October 1521 Pope Leo X titled  King Henry VIII of England  “Fidei Defensor” , i.e. “Defender of the Faith” .

His wife Catherine of Aragon was also a Defender of the Faith in her own right. The title was conferred  as a reward for the king’s pamphlet Assertio septem sacramentorum adversus Martinum Lutherum (“Defense of the Seven Sacraments Against Martin Luther),  which defended the sacramental nature of marriage and the supremacy of the Pope.  Following Henry’s decision to break with Rome in 1530 and establish himself as head of the Church of England  the title was revoked and Henry was excommunicated.

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