Advent Procession with Lessons and Carols, Hereford Cathedral and unveiling ceremony of Portrait of Bishop Richard – 2nd December 2018

The Cathedral was packed for its Advent service. After what amounted to a short organ concert, a splendid procession wound its way through the Cathedral, pausing at the West door to sing the First Responsory of Advent Sunday in the office of Matins with music adapted by the late David Willcocks from a setting by Palestrina. They then proceeded to their places singing Veni, Redemptor Gentium written by St. Ambrose in the 4th century to music adapted by Michael Praetorius at the turn of the seventeenth century. Since this tune is simple and beautiful, one longed to join in (though this may not have been an improvement). We heard lessons telling of the coming of Christ and the great Advent hymns. A collection was taken for Christian Aid. Before the last hymn, we heard Palestrina’s setting of the Responsory at Vespers on Christmas Eve so we spanned the whole season of Advent.

It has become traditional for the Lord Lieutenant to organise a portrait of the current Bishop to join the pantheon of predecessors that hang in the Great Hall and conference room at the Bishop’s Palace. It was felt that it would be right for the Hereford College of Arts to be invited to help find an artist photographer. Interviews were held and Tim Bartlett got the commission. The result is a portrait which shows the +Richard standing before an archway which looks out onto the wide world, with a look of serious purpose but a twinkle in the eye that captures the essence of +Richard. After the service, there was a presentation with the Lord Lieutenant explaining the story of the creation of the portrait with a tribute to its subject. +Richard then responded with characteristic modesty and humour and received the portrait.