Baldwin of Ford (ca. 1120-1190) monk and pastor
In 1190 the Cistercian monk and Archbishop of Canterbury Baldwin of Ford died in Tyre, Lebanon.
Baldwin was born around the year 1120 in Devonshire, England. After completing his studies, perhaps at Exeter, he began a successful career in the service of Pope Eugenius III, who had begun his spiritual life as a Cistercian monk.
Upon returning to England, in 1169 Baldwin left all else behind and became a monk at the Cistercian abbey of Ford. He was soon made abbot, and although he did not spend many years in the monastery, he understood that monastic life is essentially a search for communion. In his beautiful treatises on community life, Baldwin was the first to assert that every human form of communion, especially in a monastic community, descends from the shared life of the three Persons of the Trinity.
Baldwin was elected bishop of Worcester in 1181, and several years later he became Archbishop of Canterbury. As leader of the Church of England, he was forced against his will to enter the turmoil of politics. During the reign of Henry II, who was responsible for the death of Thomas Becket, Baldwin defended the memory of his predecessor at Canterbury in his preaching and writing. He met his death participating in the third crusade at the orders of the new king, Richard the Lionheart.
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