February 07, 2015

⛪ Saint Richard the Pilgrim

Saint of the Day : February 7

 Died :
• 722 at Lucca, Italy of natural causes
• Buried in the church of San Frediano in Lucca
• Miracles reported at his tomb
• Some relics translated to Eichstätt, Germany

 Representation :
Pilgrim in an ermine-lined cloak (wears a crown, or it sits on a book nearby) with a bishop and an abbot, his sons, nearby

Saint Richard the Pilgrim (also known as St. Richard of Wessex, St. Richard the King, St. Richard the Saxon, St. Richard of Swabia. St. Ricarius) is a saint of the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches. There is one church in the UK dedicated to him, St Ricarius Church, Aberford.

Richard was from Wessex, England and his real name is uncertain. He appears to have been an Anglo-Saxon chieftain or Under-King in Wessex, probably of part of Devonshire. He obtained by his prayers the recovery of his three year old son Willibald, whom he laid at the foot of a great crucifix erected in a public place in England, when the child’s life was despaired of in a grievous sickness.

Around the year 721, he entrusted his eleven year old daughter Walpurga to the abbess of Wimborne in Dorset, renounced his estates, and set sail with his two sons from Hamblehaven near Southampton. They landed in France and temporarily stayed in Rouen. From there, they set off on the pilgrimage route to Italy, where they prayed at shrines situated along the way.

He died unexpectedly after developing a fever in Lucca, Tuscany, where he was buried in the Church of San Frediano, founded by the Irish monk Fridianus. Miracles were reported to have occurred at his tomb and a cult venerating him developed. The people of Lucca gave him the name "Richard" and embellished their accounts of his life, describing him as an English prince. Another apocryphal story described him as the Duke of Swabia in Germany.

The reigning king of the West Saxons or Wessex during this period was King Ine, who ascended the throne in 688 and died in or possibly after 726. Bede states that he abdicated after 37 years, i.e. 725-26. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle refers to him abdicating in and around 726-28, then traveling to Rome and dying there. 

His wife, Winna, was the sister of Saint Boniface,[5] Archbishop of Mainz, and they were the parents of Willibald, Bishop of Eichstätt; Saint Winebald, (Abbot of Heidenheim); and Walpurga, Abbess of Heidenheim.

His son, Willibald, continued the pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Richard's niece, a nun called Hygeburg (Huneburc of Heidenheim), wrote an account of the pilgrimage, entitled "Hodoeporicon", which historians date the text between 761 and 786.

Some of Richard's relics were transported to Eichstätt, where Willibald eventually became Bishop. Richard's feast day is 7 February.

Richard is depicted with the Blessed Mother and his three children at Eichstätt Cathedral.

In religious artworks, Richard is portrayed as a royal pilgrim in an ermine-lined cloak with two sons, one a bishop and one an abbot. His crown appears to lie on a book (Roeder). Richard is particularly venerated at Heidenheim and Lucca (Roeder).

St. Richard the Pilgrim should not be confused with Richard le Pèlerin, (also "Richard the Pilgrim"), a North French or Flemish jongleur who witnessed the siege of Antioch in 1097 and wrote a poem on the subject.

Eichstätt Cathedral, Central Shrine of the high altar in the east choir. Our Lady with the Child, St. Willibald and  St. Walburga,  St. Richard and St.Wunibald

Source : Wikipedia

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