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Geoffrey Francis Fisher

Today in Masonic History Geoffrey Francis Fisher passes away in 1972.

Geoffrey Francis Fisher was a British clergyman and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Fisher was born on May 5th, 1887 in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. He was educated at Marlborough and Exeter College, Oxford. He became assistant master at Marlborough College until in 1913 when he decided to become ordained as priest. He was motivated by his desire to become a headmaster. At the time the English Public Schools had close ties with the Church of England and headmasters were typically priests.

In 1914 Fisher became the headmaster of Repton School. One of the students of the school was Roald Dahl the acclaimed children’s author. Dahl in his autobiography Boy claimed Fisher used Corporal Punishment in an “overdone” manner. Records indicate by the time Dahl became a student at Repton, Fisher already left the school.

In 1944, when the Archbishop of Canterbury, William Temple, passed away Fisher was appointed as the Archbishop of Canterbury. This was controversial at the time. The appointment of the Archbishop of Canterbury was controlled by the Prime Minister of England, Winston Churchill. One of the primary rivals of Fisher was someone who criticized the House of Lords and the military handling of World War II. Because of this Churchill chose Fisher. Fisher is believed to have been regarded by Temple as his successor.

During his time as Archbishop of Canterbury Fisher took on updating the Church of England’s canon of law, which was still the 1604 version. He presided at the wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip. In 1953 he presided at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1958, Fisher made controversial statements regarding the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) between the United States and Soviet Union. One of those statements was "the very worst the Bomb can do is to sweep a vast number of People from this world into the next into which they must all go anyway.” For these comments he was heavily criticized.

In 1960 Fisher met with Pope John XXIII, it was the first meeting between the Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope since the English Reformation.

Fisher retired in 1961. He later received a life peer with the title of Baron Fisher of Lambeth. Fisher passed away on September 15th, 1972.

Fisher was initiated on January 11th, 1916 in Old Reptonian Lodge No. 3725.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.