St Fridewides Church Oxford

Table of Contents

A Spiritual Journey Through Time: St Fridewides Church Oxford

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St Fridewides Church in Oxford, a monument of profound historical and spiritual importance, continues to draw people from far and wide. Its rich history, magnificent architecture, and the story of its patron saint permeate this sacred site, making it a fascinating destination for history enthusiasts and spiritual seekers alike

A Glimpse into the Past

A tale of St Fridewides Church begins with its namesake, St Frideswide, a Saxon princess renowned for her healing powers. Her story is interwoven with the church’s history, her life’s events shaping the narrative of this sacred space. if you would like to learn about Oxford city and its past join a city walking tour

Saxon princes walking church of oxford

The Life and Legend of St Frideswide

No first-hand accounts of St Frideswide’s life exist. However, legends portray her as a nun who dedicated her life to spiritual pursuits. Her moniker, Frideswide, translates to ‘Peace Strong’, a fitting name for a figure associated with healing and serenity.

A Royal Pursuit and Divine Intervention

St Frideswide’s life takes a dramatic turn with the entrance of King Algar of Leicester. Despite her vow of chastity, the King was adamant about marrying her, forcing Frideswide to seek refuge in a monastery near the Thames.

The relentless pursuit ended when divine intervention struck King Algar blind. Realising his mistake, the King sought Frideswide’s forgiveness, which she granted, leading to the restoration of his sight. This event cemented Frideswide’s reputation as a healer and a figure of piety.

A blind king algar of leicester in oxford

Foundation of the Church and the Priory

St Frideswide is credited with establishing the religious community that formed the basis of the present-day St Fridewides Church. The Priory she founded served as a centre for religious teaching and care for the needy. Despite numerous destructions and reconstructions, the Priory’s essence has remained intact.

Her remains were transferred to a shrine within the newly completed Priory in 1180 by the then Archbishop. This shrine, the oldest monument in St Fridewides Church, became a focal point of veneration and pilgrimage, attracting people who sought healing and spiritual solace.

The Shrine of St Frideswide

Shrine of St Frideswide, though destroyed in 1538 during the Reformation, was meticulously reconstructed using fragments of the original shrine discovered in the 19th century. Today, it stands as a testament to St Frideswide’s enduring influence and the church’s resilience.

The Latin Chapel and The Window

The Latin Chapel, rebuilt to house the new shrine, continues to draw visitors with its grandeur. The St Frideswide Window, a masterpiece by Edward Burne-Jones, narrates the saint’s life through exquisite stained-glass panels.

The Feast of St Frideswide

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Every year, the Feast of St Frideswide is celebrated around her saint’s day, 19th October, inviting pilgrims and visitors to partake in the festivities and pay homage to the beloved saint.

Pilgrimage to St Fridewides Church Oxford

St Fridewides Church Oxford has long been a destination for pilgrims. The concept of pilgrimage is deeply rooted in human nature, and the church offers a space for spiritual insight, wisdom, and healing.

The Pilgrim's Spirit

Embarking on a pilgrimage to St Fridewides Church Oxford is not merely about reaching the destination. The journey itself, filled with conversations, encounters, and experiences, can stimulate spiritual reflection and growth.

The Centre for Christian Pilgrimage

The Centre for Christian Pilgrimage, housed in the church, aims to deepen our understanding of the value of pilgrimage in the 21st century. It offers resources, training, and theological reflection to support the development of pilgrimage as a tool for discipleship.

Pilgrams traveling to a church in oxford

The Pilgrim Passport and Cycle Pilgrimage

The Pilgrim Passport, part of the national campaign, ‘2020 Year of Cathedrals, Year of Pilgrimage’, encourages visitors to view their cathedral visits as a pilgrimage. The Pilgrim Passport, adorned with inspirational quotes, pilgrim poems, and prayers, is available for purchase at the church.

A symbol unique to the pilgrimage to St Fridewides Church Oxford is a cockle shell surrounded by a wreath of rosemary. The shell, synonymous with pilgrimage, and rosemary, symbolic of healing, encapsulate the essence of the journey to this sacred s

A Visit to Remember

A visit to St Fridewides Church Oxford is sure to leave an indelible mark on your memory. The church’s intriguing history, spiritual significance, and the story of its patron saint combine to make it a unique destination, offering a glimpse into the past while providing a space for spiritual growth in the present.

Whether you embark on this journey as a history buff, a spiritual seeker, or simply a curious traveller, St Fridewides Church Oxford promises a rich and rewarding experience.


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