Among the important roles of the Patriarchate of St. Stephen is that of Servant of Our Lady of Walsingham in Italy. This duty comes in part from the Patriarchate's patrimony as the Catholic continuation of Anglicans in central Italy beginning in earnest in the Renaissance. It also comes from the service of Patriarchate clerics to the Shrine of the Holy House of Our Lady of Walsingham in Walsingham, England. Today the clergy of the Patriarchate continue to serve our Lord in part through special service and devotion to Our Lady of Walsingham.

The name of the Patriarchal Household, the Court of Saint Mary of Walsingham, is a combination of the title of the Roman Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua and the English title of Our Lady of Walsingham. Santa Maria Antiqua, the "Sistine Chapel of the Early Church," contains the earliest known Roman depiction of the Blessed Virgin as Queen of Heaven, which she became by accepting the overshadowing of the Holy Ghost at the Annunciation and thereby becoming the Mother of God. Due to structural damage resulting from an earthquake in the 9th century, it is the only one of the three earliest Marian churches in Rome that ceased to be used as an active parish. Parts of the basilica were still in use in 1084 at the time of the Norman Sack of Rome, and it was likely abandoned afterwards due to further damage sustained from battle.

Just over two decades earlier in 1061, Richeldis de Faverches, Lady of the Manor of Walsingham, had a vision in which the Blessed Virgin took her to Nazareth, showed her the Holy House, and requested her to create a replica of it in Walsingham, England. In the Middle Ages, Walsingham quickly became one of the most important places of pilgrimages, along with Rome and Jerusalem. To Richeldis Our Lady said "Do all this unto my special praise and honor. And all who are in any way distressed or in need, let them seek me here in that little house you have made at Walsingham. To all that seek me there shall be given succor. And there at Walsingham in this little house shall be held in remembrance the great joy of my salutation when Saint Gabriel told me I should through humility become the Mother of God's Son." In the same spirit of service at the Deaconry of Santa Maria Antiqua in Rome, bearing the image of the Blessed Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven, which She became at the acceptance of the message of Saint Gabriel, those who were in need were helped by Christ's Holy Church. In Jerusalem, Stephen the Deacon helped those in need and, filled with the joy of God, preached to the people that they should accept the Holy Spirit as Mary had done.

 

 

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The Anglican and Roman Catholic Shrines of Our Lady of Walsingham in England are not formally affiliated
with the Patriarchate of St. Stephen are the Servants of Our Lady of Walsingham in Italy.