Monday, 19 May 2014
St Richard's House, 102 Eversholt Street NW1
O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,
May I know Thee more clearly,
Love Thee more dearly,
Follow Thee more nearly.
In fact he was the Pope's enforcer, rejecting the power of the King (Henry III) over the church, imposing celibacy on the priesthood and preaching the Crusade. To the left is his seal, Christ the Ruler of Nations with the Sword of the Spirit in his mouth and the Gospel in his hand, symbols from Revelation.
At the bottom left hand corner is a fig tree, referring to the time Richard spent living near Worthing cultivating figs while he waited for Henry III to submit to the Pope's will and give him the bishopric.
The chalice to the right is one of his miracles - once, while celebrating communion, he dropped the chalice but no wine was spilled.
At the top right is a blackbird, which is a bit gruesome: the legend goes that a student at Oxford had a pet blackbird who sang delightfully. A friend asked for the bird, but he refused to give it up. The friend came back later and cut its tongue out. When the student returned to find the bird voiceless and close to death, he prayed to St Richard and the bird burst out into glorious song.