Tag Archives: Saint Richard

16 June: Sell my silver

Saint Richard’s statue outside Chichester Cathedral

A reminder of one of our English Saints, one who should not be forgotten, a model bishop.

To Chichester belongs a Sussex saint, Saint Richard, Bishop of Chichester in the thirteenth century, and a great man.

In 1245 he found the Sussex see an Augæan stable; but he was equal to the labour of cleansing it. He deprived the corrupt clergy of their benefices with an unhesitating hand, and upon their successors and those that remained he imposed laws of comeliness and simplicity. His reforms were many and various: he restored hospitality to its high place among the duties of rectors; he punished absentees; he excommunicated usurers; while (a revolutionist indeed!) priests who spoke indistinctly or at too great a pace were suspended. Also, I doubt not, he was hostile to locked churches. Furthermore, he advocated the Crusades like another Peter the Hermit.

Richard’s own life was exquisitely thoughtful and simple. An anecdote of his brother, who assisted him in the practical administration of the diocese, helps us to this side of his character. “You give away more than your income,” remarked this almoner-brother one day. “Then sell my silver,” said Richard, “it will never do for me to drink out of silver cups while our Lord is suffering in His poor. Our father drank heartily out of common crockery, and so can I. Sell the plate.”

Richard penetrated on foot to the uttermost corners of his diocese to see that all was well. He took no holiday, but would often stay for a while at Tarring, near Worthing, with Simon, the parish priest and his great friend. Tradition would have Richard the planter of the first of the Tarring figs, and indeed, to my mind, he is more welcome to that honour than Saint Thomas à Becket, who competes for the credit—being more a Sussex man. In his will Richard left to Sir Simon de Terring his best riding horse and a commentary on the Psalms.

The Bishop died in 1253 and he was at once canonised. To visit his grave in the nave of Chichester Cathedral (it is now in the south transept) was a sure means to recovery from illness, and it quickly became a place of pilgrimage. Very pleasant must have been the observance of Richard’s day in the Chichester streets. In 1297 we find Edward I. giving Lovel the harper 6s. 6d. for singing the Saint’s praises; but Henry VIII. was to change all this. On December 14th, 1538, it being, I imagine, a fine day, the Defender of the Faith signed a paper ordering Sir William Goring and William Ernely, his Commissioners, to repair to Chichester Cathedral and remove “the bones, shrine, &c., of a certain Bishop —— which they call S. Richard,” to the Tower of London. That the Commissioners did their work we know from their account for the same, which came to £40.

from Highways and Byways in Sussex by E. V. Lucas, 2nd edition 1921.

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Going Viral: Rev Jo and practicalities.

Saint Dunstan’s self-portrait at the foot of the risen Lord

Good morning everyone, and hope this continues to find you well, as we are here at the Rectory, and another fine day today. 
Yesterday I observed how the shops that were open were managing – as this is something we will be doing when it comes to being open for worship, it helps to observe how others are managing signage, hand sanitizers, and social distancing. To be honest, it wasn’t as busy as I had anticipated. Yes there were definitely more folk out there, but often our numbers are swelled by tourists and students, and with neither of them around, it is very much the residents of Canterbury and surrounding villages. Of course with all our cafes and restaurants still closed, there still felt a sense of semi-lockdown; along with our dear Marlowe theatre (please do keep them in your prayers). It was also good to catch up with a number of our rough sleepers, many of whom I have got to know over recent years here in Canterbury – it was lovely as I was treated like a long lost friend, though it made my day to see them all, and find out how they have faired in lockdown. One couple, who have recently got engaged were asking about a church wedding next year, which would be wonderful.
So today we have been asked to remember Richard, Bishop of Chichester, who died in 1253, and his ‘Day-by day’ prayer you may know, words that have been said by many down the ages, to this day, words we can perhaps reflect upon this day, whatever the day holds before us:

Day-by-day

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ
For all the benefits you have given me,
For all the pains and insults you have borne for me.
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know You more clearly,
Love You more dearly,
Follow You more nearly 
Day by Day

Morning prayer
https://youtu.be/02JXzgbRiwU
Off now to join Sue & Jayne as we plan the logistics of worship at St Dunstan’s, along with covid risk assessments.
God Bless you all, and please do keep safe, keep connected, and keep praying.
Jo
🙏🙏🙏

Rev Jo Richards Rector of the Benefice of St Dunstan, St Mildred and St Peter, Canterbury

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12 January: Open Heart, Open Mind III: To see more clearly: looking at our art

St_Richard_Statue

Before leaving Chichester Naomi published this resource for anyone looking at Christian art in Churches and elsewhere. Make it a new year’s resolution to spend quiet time in front of a work of art, perhaps using some of the questions in the resource this post links to.

To see more clearly: looking at our art

Reflecting on art in a religious context: A resource for churches in the Diocese of Sussex and beyond

There is a rich tradition of art in churches in Sussex – from the mediaeval frescos at St. John the Baptist, Clayton, to twentieth-century works commissioned by Dean Hussey at Chichester Cathedral, to contemporary commissions such as Maggi Hambling’s The Resurrection Spirit at St. Dunstan’s Mayfield (2013). Our art is a wonderful resource for helping us to understand and reflect upon matters of faith.

We can also draw on the rich history of religious art in museum and gallery collections in Sussex, and further afield – whether by visiting these collections, or viewing images online or in books.

These notes and questions are intended to encourage individuals and groups to engage in a contemplative way with works of art in churches and elsewhere. It suggests a series of questions to prompt reflection and/or discussion of different types of works of art.

As we begin the Year of the Bible in the Diocese of Chichester this Advent, our art can provide a powerful focus for reflection on biblical narratives. Within these pages, you will find some specific guidance for looking at biblical art, as well as for other types of art you might encounter in a religious context.

No expert knowledge is needed to appreciate art – just an openness to look and to ask questions. Through spending time looking at the art in our churches, we can not only see it more clearly, but also in doing so, as St. Richard prays, know Jesus Christ more clearly.

Naomi Billingsley, Bishop Otter Scholar, the Diocese of Chichester, Advent 2016.

Statue of Saint Richard outside Chichester Cathedral.

 

Download the resource here: looking-at-religious-art-_-otter-scholar

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August 23: Reflections on Living Together, III: Armchair Travel and Richard of Chichester.

chich.starceiling (785x800)

NW Tower, Chichester Cathedral.

The spirit of discord and hatred that is evident today needs God’s grace to overcome it. With God’s grace we can be instruments of his mercy and peace at a personal level. A simple ‘Good Morning’, in whatever language, is a word of peace. A smile, a compliment, a helping hand, a joke.

And perhaps we should travel to broaden the mind and heart. If we cannot leave home we can travel through the printed word or the television screen. And Christian, Jew or Muslim can pray these words of Saint Richard of Chichester:

May I see you more clearly,

Love you more dearly,

And follow you more nearly,

Day by Day.

MMB.

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Interruption – Art and Faith: Representations of St Richard

On Saturday 11th June a group met to discuss representations of St. Richard at Chichester Cathedral. Sussex’s saint appears a number of times in and around the Cathedral. Our main foci were the two most recent such works to be seen at the Cathedral: Philip Jackson’s exterior sculpture (2000) and Sergei Fyodorov’s icon at the shrine of St Richard (2003). We also looked at W.H. Randoll Blacking’s 1951 statue, also located at the shrine; the Chichester Cathedral banner (c.1900), designed by Ernest Gilbert and made by Miss H. Harvey, which hangs in the north aisle; the portrait in Lambert Barnard’s ‘Catalogue of Bishops’ (c.1536) in the North Transept; the statue above St. Richard’s door (in the Western arm of the cloisters, leading into the Cathedral). We also looked at an image of the St. Richard window at nearby St. Richard’s Roman Catholic parish church.

We began with a brief introduction to the life of St. Richard (1197-1253), Bishop of Chichester (1245-53). Richard is remembered for his good works and humble lifestyle. He travelled across the Diocese preaching, and it was at the end of his preaching tour, in Dover, that St. Richard died on 3rd April 1253. His body was translated to a shrine in the Cathedral on 16th June 1276 – now celebrated as St. Richard’s Day. The shrine was destroyed at the Reformation, but was restored in the twentieth century. There is a helpful summary of the life of St. Richard available from Chichester Cathedral’s website.

The various artists we looked at adopted a variety of approaches to depicting the saint. He is usually shown in episcopal dress, including a mitre. All of the pre-21st century examples include a chalice at Richard’s feet – a reference to a story that he once dropped a chalice whilst celebrating the Eucharist but not a drop was spilt.

Philip Jackson chose to strip away all the accoutrements normally associated with St. Richard to show him wearing a simple cope, with a bare head. Jackson wanted to reflect the austerity of Richard’s life, rather than the idealised depictions of the saint wearing gold and so on in some of the other examples in the Cathedral. Jackson also gave his figure a stern expression, in keeping with the saint’s character.

I have spoken to a number of people – and count myself among them – who find Jackson’s austere portrait of St. Richard somewhat spooky, even sinister. I particularly feel this when I see the sculpture lit up at night, glooming over the approach to the Cathedral, giving it an almost gothic feel. I therefore found it very refreshing that participants in the discussion responded very positively to the work, reading it as an image of the saint facing out from the Cathedral, towards the town, with a gesture of blessing in motion (thus he is not looking in the same direction as his extended arm, which others have told me they find impersonal).

The Fyodorov icon prompted a lengthy discussion about the role of icons more broadly, and their increasing presence in Anglican churches. Fyodorov trained in Russia but is now based in Britain, and adapts his style to the context for which he is working (a Moscow Times article which one of the participants brought to the session contains some helpful insights into Fyodorov’s work). Some people felt that by portraying St. Richard in a more naturalistic style than is traditional in icons, the work has less impact as a focus of meditation. However, we also noted that the inclusion of St. Richard pointing to Christ is an eloquent visual expression of the sentiments of St. Richard’s prayer:

Thanks be to you, our Lord Jesus Christ,
for all the benefits which you have given us,
for all the pains and insults which you have borne for us.
Most merciful Redeemer, Friend and Brother,
may we know you more clearly,
love you more dearly,
and follow you more nearly,
day by day.

As in all things, different works of art will appeal more to some individuals than others, but one thing that repeatedly comes out of the discussion groups is that when a work of art does resonate for an individual, it can, like St. Richard’s prayer, redirect one’s attention to God.

There are two sessions left in the series of discussion groups; details here.

Copied from: Arts and Faith in Sussex .

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A Kindly Leader

 

 

 

Chichester Cathedral is close enough to the sea to have been a landmark for sailors, they say. richard1 (333x640)

Here they remember with great affection Bishop Saint Richard, whom we once met at the Catholic Church in Droitwich, the town where he was born.  They tell the story of his life in mosaics, from ploughboy to teacher to bishop.

Richard is barely remembered at Canterbury, though he was chancellor of the Cathedral and a local parish priest. But a school is named after him at Dover where he died.

Over at Chichester Cathedral his statue makes Richard  look like a real human being. People said that his name was appropriate because he was RI-DENS – laughing, CAR-US – dear, and D-ULCIS, gentle. He was strong enough to stand up to King Henry III who did not want him as bishop.

All his strength and humility come out in his famous prayer:

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ, for all the benefits which Thou has given me; for all the pains and insults which thou hast borne for me.

 

http://www.chichestercathedral.org.uk/

http://www.sacredheartdroitwich.org.uk/mosaics_rightnave.htm

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