John Wyclif, Reformer, 31st December

He gave his support to such projects as the translation of the Bible into contemporary English…

John was a member of the Wyclif family of Richmond in Yorkshire and was born in about the year 1330. He was a fellow of Merton College Oxford, and Master of Balliol, but his expulsion from the Wardenship of Canterbury Hall (later incorporated into Christ Church) in favour of a monastic foundation led to a lawsuit and a life-long hatred of things monastic. He was much in favour with members of the royal family and, when disputes arose owing to his attacks on the clergy of the day, he was protected by them from the otherwise inevitable consequence of deprivation of his posts. However, he went on to deny the Church’s teaching of the presence of Christ at the eucharist, the doctrine known as transubstantiation, and it was this that lost him his royal protection. His opinions were formally condemned in 1381 and he was forced out of office by the university the following year. John had already moved to Lutterworth in 1380 and from there he gave his support to such projects as the translation of the Bible into contemporary English. He died on this day in 1384, whilst at Mass.

Portrait by Thomas Kirkby (c.1828) reproduced by kind permission of Balliol College, Oxford
Text Reproduced from Exciting Holiness by kind permission of Brother Tristam Holland SSF