|Monastic founder and hermit|
|Died||April 26, 645 (aged 84–85)
|Venerated in||Roman Catholic Church|
Richarius was born a pagan in the late 6th century in the county of Ponthieu near Amiens in Picardy in the north-west of France. He converted to Christianity under the influence of Fricor and Cadoc, two Welsh missionaries.[a] After his conversion, he fasted on barley bread mixed with ashes, and drank only water which he mingled with his own tears. He was ordained a priest, and traveled to England, preaching the Gospel and curing the sick. Travelled by donkey rather than horse, he read the psalter as he rode.
In 638, after some years in England, Richarius founded a monastery in his hometown in Ponthieu that was named Centule (or Centula, alteration of Latin Centum Turres: hundred towers). This monastery practised according to the Rule of Saint Columbanus of Luxeuil. A city developed around this monastery, also named Centule. In the Middle Ages it was renamed to Saint-Riquier. Nowadays it has some 1200 inhabitants, who still refer to themselves as Centulois. The Frankish king Dagobert I once came to visit the monastery, and Richarius offered the king advice. He was frank and clear in his speech to the king, speaking without fear or flattery, and the king thereafter became a benefactor of the monastery. Others also gave generously to Richarius's monastery, and he was able to use the money to help lepers and the poor and to ransom prisoners held by England.
Richarius eventually founded a second monastery called Forest-Montier. He made a shelter in the forest of Crécy, fifteen miles from his monastery. He lived there as a hermit with his disciple Sigobart. On April 26, 643, he bid farewell to Sigobart and died.
In monastério Céntula, in Gállia, sancti Richárii, Presbyteri et Confessóris.
In the monastery of Centula in France, St. Richarius, priest and confessor.
His relics were first put in a coffin made of an oak trunk and then translated to the abbey of Centula. One hundred and fifty years later, Charlemagne built a golden shrine to enclose the relics and had the Saint-Riquier Gospels made for the shrine.
Aside from Saint-Riquier, the city of Saint-Riquier-en-Rivière in Normandy bears his name, and there is one church in England St Ricarius Church, Aberford, a town the saint is supposed to have visited in 630.
The flower Erysimum barbarea (yellow rocket or wintercress) is dedicated to him.[clarification needed] The feast day of Richarius in the Roman Catholic Church is April 26. A feast for the translation of his relics is celebrated on October 9.
- ^ Note that Saint Cadoc died in 580, so Richarius would probably have been born around 560.
- Jones, Terry. "Saint Richarius of Celles". Patron Saints Index. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
- Butler, Alban (1866). The lives of the fathers, martyrs, and other principal saints. IV. Dublin: James Duffy. pp. 262–263.
- Confraternity of Ss. Peter & Paul. "April 26". The Roman Martyrology. Retrieved June 5, 2010.
- Armfield, H. M. (2011). A History of Aberford (2nd ed.). available from St Ricarius Church, Aberford. p. 5.