Felixstowe Church unveils new statue of St Felix

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Felixstowe Church unveils new statue of St Felix

The parish of St Felix in Felixstowe celebrated the feast day of their patron saint in a special way this year, with the unveiling and blessing of a new statue of St Felix.

For years, the church has been without a statue of its patron. The journey to acquiring one began a decade ago when Bishop Emeritus Alan Hopes inducted Canon John Barnes to the parish. At the time, Bishop Alan requested Canon John to find a suitable statue of St Felix. This task, however, proved to be more challenging and time-consuming than initially anticipated.

Last year, a fitting statue was finally located. The statue, crafted from wood in the Tyrol region, was purchased thanks to the generosity of a benefactress. The next challenge was finding the right spot in the church to place the statue. The solution came in the form of a stone bracket, designed and made by Abbeygate Stonemasons of Bury St Edmunds, which now supports the statue on one of the piers of the Chancel arch.

Canon John shared insights into the history of St Felix, he said: “St Bede, in his famous Ecclesiastical History, tells us that St Felix was centred upon Dunnoc. Precisely where this was is not known. It has often been assumed that the place was Dunwich, mainly because the name sounds similar. However, some suggest that Felix may have lived in the ruined Roman fort of Walton Castle, now under the sea at Felixstowe, just as St Fursey lived in the ruined Roman fort at Burgh Castle. St Felix had been brought to East Anglia by King Sigebert, and certainly Walton Castle would have been nearer to the royal hall at Rendlesham.”

On May 21, Bishop Peter Collins, Bishop of East Anglia, blessed the new statue during his visit to Felixstowe. The ceremony took place during a visit by the Bishop to confirm seven candidates. Canon John said the statue had been carved in the Tyrol region of Europe. He added: “St Felix is shown vested as a Bishop. He was the first Bishop of East Anglia. He’s depicted carrying a pastoral staff in one hand, signifying his role as a bishop, and in the other hand, he holds a book of the Gospels and a model of a church, symbolizing his role in bringing the Gospel to East Anglia and establishing the Catholic Church in the region.”

Pictured below is Bishop Peter with the Confirmation Candidates, and further below, Bishop Peter blessing the new statue. Credit to Alan Lamberton/Wilf Ablard.