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Titular Abbot of St Edmund’s Abbey, the Rt Rev Stephen Ortiger, has died, aged 83





The Titular Abbot of St Edmund’s Abbey, the Rt Rev Stephen Ortiger, has died, aged 83.

Father Stephen, who was also also former Abbot of Worth, Sussex, died on January 27, after a period of illness.

He was widely known in Catholic circles, renowned for his wisdom and knowledge and one of the most influential monks of his generation.

Former Abbott of Worth Abbey and Titular Abbot of St Edmund’s Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, the Rt Rev Stephen Ortiger. Picture: Diocese of Arundel & Brighton
Former Abbott of Worth Abbey and Titular Abbot of St Edmund’s Abbey, Bury St Edmunds, the Rt Rev Stephen Ortiger. Picture: Diocese of Arundel & Brighton

His links to East Anglia were rekindled when he became Titular Abbot of St Edmund’s Abbey, Bury St Edmunds.

A titular abbot is one who holds the title of abbot derived from a destroyed or suppressed abbey.

Historian John Saunders, said: “Abbot Stephen was offered the title of an ancient abbey and happily chose Bury St Edmunds.

“A man of humour, Abbot Stephen defined the difference between a ruling abbot and a titular abbot as the latter having no trouble with his monks. In this case the monks departed the town in 1539.”

Father Stephen studied history at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

He was active in the Cambridge University chaplaincy at Fisher House and became president of the university’s student-run Catholic society.

From university he entered Worth as a novice, taking his religious name of Stephen.

He was ordained a Benedictine priest in 1967 and taught in the Abbey’s secondary school, eventually becoming headmaster.

Retiring as Abbot of Worth in 2002, he returned to Fisher House in Cambridge before resuming his monastic life and becoming Episcopal Vicar for Religious Life in the Arundel & Brighton Diocese.

In 2020 he became priest in charge of Our Lady Star of the Sea in East Preston, West Sussex.

His funeral will take place today at Worth Abbey.