St Edmund of Abingdon: Special event

The tomb of St Edmund d’Abingdon is a dominant feature at Pontigny Abbey in Burgundy where he is called St Edme.

As the name suggests, St Edmund of Abingdon was born in Abingdon. This was about 1175 when he was known simply as Edmund Rich and lived with his parents near today’s St Edmund’s Lane off West St Helen Street.

He went to school upstream in Oxford and it in these early days that he is reputed to have had an encounter with an apparition of the Christ Child in water meadows near the River Thames.

As a priest he often stayed at Reading Abbey which may have been an overnight stop when sailing up and down the Thames but it was also a favourite place for retreat or vacation.

In 1233 he became Archbishop of Canterbury. A recent predecessor was the martyr St Thomas Becket.

Edmund is buried in the vast Abbey church in France because he died nearby in 1540 whilst on his way to Rome.

The date of his death is the 16 November which is now his feast day.

Next Sunday 13 November the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth will be at St Edmund’s Roman Catholic Church in Abingdon at 1.30pm to celebrate a Mass marking the end of the Year of Mercy. He will rededicate the Roman Catholic Portsmouth Diocese to St Edmund.

A relic of St Edmund is being brought for the occasion and at 3pm Abbot Geoffrey Scott will give a talk about Edmund.

On Wednesday  St Edmund Hall at Oxford, named after Edmund of Abingdon, will be keeping St Edmund’s Day with evensong and a feast.

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