St. Richard - Encyclopedia

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ST RICHARD, of Wyche (c. 1197-1253), English saint and bishop, was named after his birthplace, Droitwich in Worcestershire. Educated at Oxford, he soon began to teach in the university, of which he became chancellor, probably after he had studied in Paris and in Bologna. About 1235 he became chancellor of the diocese of Canterbury under Archbishop Edmund Rich, and he was with the archbishop during his exile in France. Having returned to England some time after Edmund's death in 1240 he became vicar of Deal and chancellor of Canterbury for the second time. In 1244 he was elected bishop of Chichester, being consecrated at Lyons by Pope Innocent IV. in March 1245, although Henry III. refused to give him the temporalities of the see, the king favouring the candidature of Robert Passelewe (d. 1252). In 1246, however, Richard obtained the temporalities. The new bishop showed much eagerness to reform the manners and morals of his clergy, and also to introduce greater order and reverence into the services of the church. His term of office was also marked by the favour which he showed to the Dominicans, a house of this order at Orleans having sheltered him during his stay in France, and by his earnestness in preaching a crusade. He died at Dover in April 1253. It was generally believed that miracles were wrought at his tomb in Chichester cathedral, which was long a popular place of pilgrimage, and in 1262 he was canonized at Viterbo by Pope Urban IV. Richard furnished the chronicler, Matthew Paris, with material for the life of Edmund Rich, and instituted the offerings for the cathedral at Chichester which were known later as "St Richard's pence." His life by his confessor, Ralph Bocking, is published in the Acta Sanctorum of the Bollandists, where a later and shorter life by John Capgrave is also to be found.

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