On the Feast Day of St Richard Reynolds, Birgittine Martyr

16:31 by Karin Strinnholm Lagergren

Birgitta is of course the most known saint of the Birgittine Order but there are a few others as well. One of them is Richard Reynolds, who lived ca 1492-1535, and fell victim to the English reformation. He was beatified in 1886 and canonized in 1970. Today May 4 is his feast day. Saint Richard never got an own Office, but from the late 19th century the Birgittines, at least in the Netherlands, celebrated him with an antiphon on his feast day. This we know since an antiphon for him appears in the printed material produced by the Birgittine abbey in Dutch Weert that was established in the middle of the 19th century. This Birgittine workshop produced prints dating from 1856 (processional), 1881 (antiphonal) and 1883 (vesperale). But as this example shows, also separate prints were produced which then could be inserted into already existing, handwritten Birgittine liturgical books. The antiphon for Saint Richard Reynolds provides us with one of many examples of plainchant composed after the Middle Ages, showing that this genre was subject to newly composed chants also in recent times.

Below a photo of the printed antiphon inserted into a handwritten antiphonal from 1846 used in the Dutch Birgittine abbey Maria Refugie. No concordances of this chant have been found (Please correct me if I am wrong.).

The antiphon ‘Lux perpetua lucebit’ for St Richard’s feast day on May 4.


Complete text of the antiphon: Lux perpetua lucebit Sanctis tuis, Domine, et aeternitas temporum, alleluja.

Karin Strinnholm Lagergren
Senior Lecturer at Linnaeus University
Senior lecturer in musicology and singer of medieval music. Research interest monastic chant, in particular Birgittines and Dominicans. In this blog I write, comment and reflect on my research project 'The Musical World of the Birgittine Order'. Expect loads of manuscript images, tricky chant problems and square notation!

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