Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

St Anthony's Fire

Very unfortunately early on the morning of last Wednesday, October 2nd, the feast of the Guardian Angels, the very attractive statue of St Anthony of Padua in the church of the Oxford Oratory caught fire and was severely damaged - probably beyond all hope of repair. The statue has been in the church for many years and has been a popular focus of devotion and requests for St Anthony's intercession, and is a sad loss. The cause of the fire appears to have been a votive candle at his feet which initially charred the wooden statue, which then burst into flames. 

  photo 1

photo 2

Images: Oxford Oratory

Very fortunately the fire was discoverd before it could spread further, no-one was injured, and no other damage was done to the church. 

As the Oratory website says we should all give thanks to the Guardian Angels for watching over us. One parishioner said a friend of hers opined that St Anthony took the hit on behalf of the church, which is, of course, suitably saint-like.

The Oratory will be reviewing its safety procedures, and hopes to replace the statue of St Anthony as soon as this can be arranged.

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