Wednesday, April 8, 2009

(4) Summer

For almost three years I had enjoyed being the prior of
Christ Church Priory, but than our good archbishop died.
His death brought disturbance, in that King Henry decided
to elect a henchman as archbishop. He did this, overriding
the priory's selections--who were all Benedictines. Instead
the king chose a Cistercian abbot, who earlier had been a
secular archdeacon and had worked in Rome for the Papacy.
Baldwin of Exerter seemed more the King's man than a
true monastic. Our new archbishop was more political than

Needless to say, there was lots of upset in the priory. Fuel
was added to the fire when Archbishop Baldwin was tending
towards making the Canterbury See more a secular church.
Rather than having the monks serve the cathedral, he was
thinking more in terms of canons.

This most certainly did not go down well with our monks.
And, alas, as prior I was caught in the middle of all this
dissension. Earlier I had voiced my support for the
Benedictine candidates the priory had put forth. I even
took our concern to the King personally. Emotions ran
high--and I even drew faint at one point. I was not used to
such discord. King Henry seemingly was kind towards me,
but he wasn't going to swerve away from his choice.

Baldwin became our new archbishop, but he believed that
Christ Church Priory was his enemy. Consequently, he
took away some the priory's lands. And, worse, he locked
the entire priory into its cloisters. We had become monastic
prisoners! As the prior, I assumed the sadness of the priory
onto my shoulders. It had become a tragic situation. Dire
times had fallen on our priory!

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