St Richard of Chichester

St. Richard of Chichester
1197-1253 Feastday: April 3

2003 is the 750th anniversary of the death of St Richard who was Bishop of Chichester. During the year an icon specially made to celebrate the occasion will be escorted through the diocese. The itinerary includes St Andrew’s Church at West Tarring, which has a stained-glass window depicting St Richard. The parish church at Maybridge is also named for St Richard.

As part of the Anniversary celebration a book entitled ‘The Story of St. Richard’ has been produced and copies a £3.00 each can be obtained from the Goring Parish Office.

There are 21 St Richards listed. This is the local one. Richard was ordained in 1242 and two years later he was elected Bishop against the wishes of King Henry III, who installed his own men in Chichester. For two years Richard was homeless and tramped the highways and byways of Sussex, stopping on occasion at the house of Simon, the priest of Tarring.

Eventually, King Henry accepted Richard, who proceeded to give away much of his income to relieve poverty. He also sold gold and silver plate belonging to the church because he thought it was wrong to own such treasures while so many poor people were suffering.

Richard was credited with performing several miracles but he was also a disciplinarian who ordered his priests to cut their hair and wash their robes. He strongly supported two Crusades to the Holy Land and many men of Sussex who heard him preach set off for the Holy Land to fight for Christianity.

Richard was canonised on June 16, 1276, nine years after his death and he was buried in Chichester Cathedral. However, centuries later Henry VIII ordered his shrine to be destroyed and nobody knows what happened to his remains.

 

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