Defender of the Faith - Encyclopedia




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DEFENDER OF THE FAITH (Fidei Defensor), a title belonging to the sovereign of England in the same way as Christianissimus belonged to the king of France, and Catholicus belongs to the ruler of Spain. It seems to have been suggested in 1516, and although certain charters have been appealed to in proof of an earlier use of the title, it was first conferred by Pope Leo X. on Henry VIII. The Bull granting the title is dated the 11th of October 1521, and was a reward for the king's treatise, Assertio, septem sacramentorum, against Luther. When Henry broke with the papacy, Pope Paul III. deprived him of this designation, but in 1544 the title of "Defender of the Faith" was confirmed to Henry by parliament, and has since been used by all his successors on the English throne.

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