Dormition of the Virgin Mary Greek Orthodox Church in Somerville, MA invites you to experience a unique event – a Byzantine rite All-Night Vigil (Vespers, Orthros, and Divine Liturgy served together) commemorating St. Richard of Wessex, one of the great saints of early medieval England.
While St. Richard is celebrated on the Greek Orthodox calendar, the full liturgical office for him, save for a lone Latin antiphon, was only recently composed and first celebrated last year.
Come and share this unique blessing with us – an All-Night Vigil commemorating a saint of the British Isles who died in Italy traveling to Jerusalem, celebrated today by a Greek Orthodox community in New England, with an office composed in English specifically for Greek Orthodox use, that will be sung according to the tradition and practice of Byzantine chant.
And if your name is Richard – come celebrate your name day with us!
A BRIEF LIFE:
St. Richard of Wessex (+722 A.D.) was a king in Anglia who, with his wife St. Wuna, raised his children Ss. Willibald, Winnibald, and Walpurga in the Christian faith, but remained focused on his own worldly concerns and privileges as king.
Eventually, St. Richard’s children lovingly reproached him. They implored him to set a Christian example for them, just as Noah had first entered the Ark ahead of his children, and to heed the words of our Lord to give away all that he had and follow Christ.
St. Richard heard his children’s rebuke and repented. With tears in his eyes, he cast off his crown and distributed his wealth. His sons convinced him to go with them on pilgrimage to visit holy sites in Rome and Jerusalem, and they set out on the journey.
In Lucca, Italy, St. Richard fell ill and reposed in the Lord. Ss. Willibald and Winnibald buried him at the church of Saint Frigdian (San Frediano).
Miracles and healings began to occur at St. Richard’s tomb, leading to his veneration and glorification as a saint. His son, St. Willibald, became bishop of Eichstätt in modern-day Bavaria, and had relics of his father translated to his cathedral there as well.