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Richarius (in Latin Ricarius) was a Frankish founder of a monastery. He was venerated as a saint and is nowadays better known as Saint Riquier.

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 was converted to christianity by Fricor and Cadoc, two Welsh missionaries. (NB: Saint Cadoc died in 580, so Richarius must be born around 560.)

After his conversion, he became an evangelist himself, preaching the gospel and curing the sick. He travelled by donkey rather than horse and read the psalter as he rode.

In 625 Richarius founded a monastery in Ponthieu that was named Centule (in Latin Centula). This monastery practised the rules of Saint Columbanus of Luxeuil.

Around this monastery developed a city, also named Centule. In the Middle Ages it was renamed to Saint-Riquier. Nowadays it has some 1200 inhabitants, who refer to themselves however still as Centulois.

Some day the Frankish king Dagobert I 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.

When he was in advanced age, Richarius made a shelter in the forest of Crécy, fifteen miles from his monastery. He lived there as a hermit with his disciple Sigobart. One day (probably April 26, 643) he said goodbye to his disciple and died.

His relics were first put in a coffin made of an oak trunk and then translated to the abbey of Centula. 150 years later, Charlemagne built a golden shrine to enclose the relics and had the Saint-Riquier Gospels made for the shrine.

The feast day of Richarius in the Roman Catholic Church is April 26.

Trivia

  • The flower Erysimum barbarea (yellow rocket or wintercress) is dedicated to him.







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