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Richard Russell

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Bishop of Vizéu in Portugal, b. in Berkshire, 1630; d. at Vizéu, 15 Nov., 1693. He was of humble station, and when twelve years old became servant to Dr. Edward Daniel, newly appointed President of Lisbon College. Five years later, having meanwhile applied his leisure to study, he was admitted an alumnus of the college and took the oath, 14 Aug, 1647. In 1653 he went to Douai College, and thence to Paris, where he was ordained. In 1655 he returned to Lisbon as procurator, but two years later was summoned by the Chapter to England, where he spent three years as a chaplain to the Portuguese ambassador. On his return to Portugal he received the title of Secretary to the Queen, and a pension, in consideration of his services to the crown of Portugal. Shortly afterwards he was again in England on business connected with the marriage treaty of Charles II and Catharine of Braganza, and on this occasion he was elected a Canon of the English Chapter (26 June, 1661). Having declined the Bishopric of the Cape Verde Islands, Russell accompanied the Infanta to England. The English Chapter hoped that he might be consecrated bishop of a Portuguese see and that then he would return to England, resign his diocese and become head of the English clergy with episcopal powers; for the English Catholics had long been without a resident bishop, and they had had no episcopal superior at all since the death of Bishop Smith in 1655. This plan, however, came to nothing, and when Russell was persuaded to accept the see of Portalegre in 1671 he decided to remain in his diocese. He was consecrated bishop in the chapel of the English College, Lisbon, on 27 Sept., 1671. Overcoming the first opposition of his clergy to a foreign bishop, he spent ten years in zealous and apostolic labor and effected a complete reformation of the diocese. In 1682 he was transferred to the diocese of Vizéu where he spent the last eleven years of his life. His portrait is preserved at the English College, Lisbon.

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