Tuesday, 29 December 2015

On the Feast of S' Thomas Becket

Thomas Becket chasuble
In a previous post, we featured a dalmatic from a set of Solemn Mass vestments made for a Monastic Community in California (USA). On this Feastday of Saint Thomas Becket, we are pleased to describe the chasuble from this set (shewn in the adjacent photograph).

Posts describing the venerable chasuble of Saint Thomas (which was in the semi-conical form), can be viewed here and here.

The design of the chasuble shewn adjacent is a variation on the Studio's  Saint Martin chasuble, which is an ample but surprisingly lightweight chasuble.  Although visually similar to the original Becket chasuble, there is no attempt to produce an exact replica of it.

The vestments are made from an English silk damask, which is fully lined in blue taffeta. A narrow braid, designed by the Studio in an early mediaeval style, was used to ornament the vestments in the distinctive manner.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Thursday, 24 December 2015

A Blessed Christmas

To all friends, customers and readers of this Blog, sincere wishes for a Blessed Christmas.

Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill be made low; the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain; and the Glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.
Isaiah 40:4-5.

Michael Sternbeck
The Saint Bede Studio.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Dalmatic from a Solemn Mass Set

The dalmatic shewn adjacent is part of a solemn Mass set presently being completed for a Monastic Community in California.

The vestments are made from a magnificent silk damask in crimson red, manufactured in the United Kingdom. They are ornamented with narrow braids designed by the Saint Bede Studio in colours of Royal Blue, Red, Gold and Ivory. The vestments are lined in Royal Blue taffeta.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Colours of Advent (re-posted)

Often it is asserted by liturgical commentators and other internet experts, that there are "correct" colours for the vestments used during Lent and Advent. Curious as to the history of these colours in Liturgical use, some years ago we researched and posted an article  here and here, about use of penitential colours for the Seasons of Advent and Lent. If you have wondered what colour the Church recommends for these Seasons, you might find the article illuminating.  
We include here an historic work of art to illustrate the practice of our forebears. This work (adjacent) was painted by an artist known as The Master of Osservanza in the year 1440 and depicts a Low Mass being offered at a side chapel in the Siena Cathedral (Italy).

Some observations. The chasuble being worn by the celebrant is violet: in other words, much the same colour as the flower "violets". It is a blue-ish colour, not purple and it is not too dark either. The chasuble is the full conical shape and is ornamented with a simple column-orphrey of dark fabric (possibly even black). Most likely, the front of the chasuble would have been decorated with the familiar "tau". The celebrant is wearing decorative apparels on his alb and amice, which match the colour of the chasuble's ornament. That is a very typical practice of the Mediaeval period. Note, too, the very full folds of the alb.

We see, also, that the boy (or young cleric) assisting the celebrant is wearing a full-length surplice, according to the style typically found in Renaissance Italy. Those who claim that such surplices are a "Church of England" garment should note this well.

Lastly, the altar itself. It is clothed in a dark antependium or altar frontal, ornamented with scarlet red. On the altar is a Crucifix and a single candle. Although it may seem peculiar that there is but a single candle instead of a pair, it might be remarked that not until the 16th century was it a usual practice to have a pair of candlesticks on an altar.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

A Rose by any other Name, but Pink


Figure 1. Pope Paul VI in 1978
wearing a rose chasuble 

made from dupion silk.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano
Twice a year, the Church breaks the tone of its penitential seasons by the use of rose-coloured vestments.  Rose-coloured vestments were never commonplace and they still are not.  Nevertheless, you will find various pronouncements these days (usually on websites) about what the real or authentic shade of rose is which is to be used for vestments.

Newsflash: there is no official shade of Rose designated by the Church, nor has there ever been.  One reason for this is rather simple: only in the nineteenth century did the process of dyeing fabric become sufficiently sophisticated to ensure that much the same shade of a colour emerged from one batch of fabric dyeing to another.

Many different colours have been deemed by the Church as acceptable as liturgical Rose.  Some of these are a salmon shade; some a silvery-pink, almost mushroom-colour; some close to what we would call Bishop's purple or fuchsia.

Another thing is certain: Bubblegum Pink is not Rose, nor has it been a traditional variation for use on these days. Whilst not intending to get into the argument as to whether the use of pink (be it vibrant or subdued) is a fitting colour for a man to wear, Bubblegum Pink certainly manifests a lamentable lack of liturgical good taste. And yet we find so many pink vestments for sale from ecclesiastical suppliers etc.

Figure 2. Pope Paul VI greeting a priest
after Mass in Saint Peter's on Laetare Sunday 1978.
Both are wearing rose 
chasubles made from dupion silk.
Image: L'Osservatore Romano
At an old post on the Blog, The New Liturgical Movement, we find a number of interesting vestments in that shade of Rose commonly found in Italy in centuries past: a salmon colour.  Go there and take a look.  But don't be mistaken about that particular shade of Rose being universal: it was used in Italy, but probably not much elsewhere.

Adjacent are two pictures of another shade of Rose.  These are sets of vestments worn by Pope Paul VI on Laetare Sunday, 1978. The vestments are made from dupion silk of a very subdued silvery-rose.  Ornamenting them is a column-orphrey almost fuchsia in colour.  Sadly, these vestments have not been seen in Papal Masses of recent years:  lamentable sets of brighter pink vestments, of rather unimaginative fabric and design, have been used instead (not to be looked at before breakfast).

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

On Our Lady's Feast

Adjacent is pictured a new set of vestments in honour of the Blessed Virgin, recently completed by the Studio.

A silk damask in a lovely shade of ivory was used for these vestments. The ornamentation - a column, front and back - was formed from a braid of the Studio's own design augmented with a narrow galloon in blue and gold, running parallel to it. The chasuble is lined in Royal Blue taffeta intended to support the colour of the orphrey.

The vestments described in this post were commissioned - together with a number of other vestments - for a Monastic Community in Brazil.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Vestments for the Advent Season

Adjacent is pictured another the new set of vestments recently completed by the Studio in the Saint Philip Neri style.

A brocade in a deep shade of violet was used for these vestments. The ornamentation - according to the Roman style - was formed from the same brocade in a shade of crimson, outlined with a braid in colours of burgundy, red and grey. The absence of any gold ornament was intended as a design feature of these vestments.  The chasuble is lined in deep-red taffeta intended to support the colour of the orphrey.

The vestments described in this post were commissioned - together with a number of other vestments - for a Monastic Community in Brazil.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Commission for 2016

Re-posted from 16th August, 3rd September and 12th October

Owing to an unprecedented amount of Commissions for new vestments received by the Saint Bede Studio in the last several months, we wish to advise that our schedule of work for the period January - November 2016 is now closed. We regret any disappointment this may cause to those who have not yet made enquiries with us.

The Studio has commenced accepting commissions for 2017.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Festal Vestments in the 16th Century Style

Adjacent is pictured the new set of vestments recently completed by the Studio in the Saint Philip Neri style.

An ivory-coloured damask was used for these vestments. The ornamentation - according to the Roman style - was formed from silk damask in a shade of crimson, outlined with a braid in colours of burgundy, red and ivory. The braid is one of the Studio's unique designs. The chasuble is lined in red taffeta intended to support the colour of the orphrey.

The vestments described in this post were commissioned - together with a number of other vestments - for a Monastic Community in Brazil.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Monday, 16 November 2015

For the Season " Per Annum " 2015 : 3

The vestments described in this post were commissioned - together with a number of other vestments - for a Monastic Community in Brazil.  Adjacent is pictured the new set of vestments in the Borromeon style.

A remnant of old silk damask in an unusual shade of moss green was used for these vestments and special care was taken to ornament them in a manner which enhanced the distinctive qualities of the damask.

The ornamentation was formed from dupion silk in a shade of teal or turquoise, outlined with a narrow braid in black and gold and enhanced with applique also in black and gold. The ornament is arranged to form a small TAU orphrey. The chasuble is lined in taffeta in a shade slightly lighter than the colour of the orphrey.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Friday, 6 November 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 13

Figure 1.
Ordination chasuble of Father Miechels.
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post we are pleased to draw attention to the ordination of another Australian Father Joshua Miechels of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

Father Miechels was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Sydney on 31st October along with three other candidates.

Father Miechels commissioned vestments from the Studio in in the Borromeon style. The vestments (shewn adjacent), were sewn from a shade of ivory silk damask and were ornamented with a simple orphrey in colours of ivory and gold, arranged in the Roman style.  The vestments were lined in a muted shade of yellow taffeta.

Please pray for Father Miechels and for all newly-ordained priests.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com


Figure 2.
During the First Holy Mass of Father Miechels
on All Saints' Day.
Image : Anna Fsadni



Figure 3.
The Archbishop of Sydney at the Laying-on of Hands
Ordination of Father Joshua Miechels.

Image : Giovanni Portelli, Catholic Communications Sydney.

Monday, 2 November 2015

All Souls' Day

The Saint Bede Studio continually strives to prepare new designs to offer its customers, inspired by Tradition, but not a slave to it. Adjacent is pictured a new set of vestments in the Saint Martin style.  It is not too often that we have an opportunity to present vestments intended for the Offices of the Dead.

The ornamentation of the vestment featured in this post is formed with a new braid, designed by the Studio and made exclusively for our customers.  The braid is arranged in parallel lines to form a TAU orphrey. This braid is in a knotwerk design in colours of taup, burnt orange and black. The chasuble is of silk dupion, lined in taffeta.

The vestment described in this post was commissioned together with a number of other vestments for a Monastic Community in Brazil.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Friday, 30 October 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 12

Figure 1. Ordination vestments of
Father Thomas Quinn.
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

This post concerns Father Thomas Quinn of the Archdiocese of Newark (New Jersey, USA), who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart (Newark NJ) on 23rd May along with eleven other candidates.

Father Quinn commissioned vestments in the Borromeon form. The chasuble (shewn adjacent), was sewn from a crimson-red silk damask and was ornamented in the Roman manner with a braids in the Puginesque style, previously designed by the Studio. The vestments were lined in a Royal Blue-coloured taffeta.

Please pray for Father Quinn and for all newly-ordained priests.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com


Figure 2. Magnificent and distinctive facade of the
Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark NJ.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 10 and 11

Figure 1. Ordination vestments of
Father Francis Denton.
Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

In this post we are pleased to draw attention to the ordinations of two Australians Father Francis Denton of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, and Father Conor Steadman of the Archdiocese of Perth.

Father Denton was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne on 27th June along with two other candidates, whilst Father Steadman was ordained in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Perth on 1st August along with several other candidates.

Because Father Denton's and Father Steadman's ordination vestments were of similar appearance we present a description of their vestments in this one post. Both vestments  were made from silk damask of a muted shade of gold. The chasubles were ornamented in a damask of burgundy and gold silk, outlined with narrow galloons in the Roman style. They were lined in a wine-red taffeta.

Father Denton's chasuble is in the Borromeon form whilst Father Steadman's vestments are in the Saint Philip Neri form.

Figure 2. Father Steadman receiving the Sacred Vessels
during his Ordination by the Archbishop of Perth.


Figure 3. Ordination vestments
of Father Conor Steadman.
Please pray for Fathers Denton and Steadman and for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com


Sunday, 18 October 2015

Suscipe Sancta Trinitas

One of the prayers which didn't survive the Missale Romanum final cut in 1970 was this one:

Accept, holy Trinity, this offering which we make to you in remembrance of the passion, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in honour of blessed Mary ever Virgin, of blessed John the Baptist, of the holy Apostles Peter and Paul, of those whose relics rest here, and of all the Saints. To them may it bring honour, and to us salvation; and may they, whose memory we keep on earth, be pleased to intercede for us in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

This beautiful prayer, intended to be recited quietly after the washing of the hands during the Preparation of Gifts or Offertory, is a summary of the things a Catholic should keep in mind when praying the Mass. It reminds us firstly that all our worship is offered to the One God, who is a Trinity of Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Secondly, in reflecting the Anamnesis after the consecration, the prayer insists on the unity of Christ’s Paschal Mystery that is re-presented for us in sacramental form: His Passion, Resurrection and Ascension. Finally, it asserts that a secondary end of the Mass is the honour of the Saints (that is, the victory of Christ in His members is being praised), and accordingly it begs their intercession for us on Earth. 

One can only wonder at the mentality which saw fit to excise this prayer from the Mass. If there was one prayer that ought to have been retained at the Offertory, this was the one. After washing his hands and before inviting the people to prayer (Pray, brethren), the celebrant bowed before the altar and quietly prayed the Suscipe Sancta Trinitas.

If you are a priest reading this, you might consider praying this prayer at the Offertory when you offer the Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass. If you pray it according to the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum, (namely bowed and silently) no one in the pews will be disturbed by hearing a prayer recited which is not contained in the New Order of Mass.  Be daring.

How beautiful it would be if once again this prayer were recited at every Mass!  The Angels would rejoice.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Enquiries with the Studio

Recently, a very large number of enquiries has been received by the Studio. Every enquiry will be answered, but the patience of all those who have contacted us is sought.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

On Raising the Chasuble at the Elevations


In the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the minister (deacon or altar server) is directed to raise the chasuble slightly in his left hand as the celebrant elevates the Sacred Host and then the Chalice. This direction is given in the Ritus Servandus VIII, 8; the Caeremoniale Episcoporum II, viii and a decision of the Congregation of Sacred Rites no. 3535.

What is the origin of this practice? It dates from that period when chasubles were voluminous and constrained the celebrant from raising his arms above his head. Lifting the lower right hand corner of the chasuble actually enables the celebrant a greater movement of the arms. Thus, the origin of this ceremonial action is purely practical. Much has been written about mystic and symbolic meanings as being the origin of this action, which assertions are complete nonsense.

The ceremonial books direct that the raising of the chasuble be a very subtle action. It was never intended that the chasuble be raised half-way up the celebrant's back or - worse still - be held up by both hands of the minister, making the chasuble seem like some fantastical ecclesiastical sail. Most assuredly such exaggerated movements are distracting both to the celebrant and to the congregation.

If the chasuble is not very ample at all, there is even more reason for its raising at the Elevation to be a very modest action: just a couple of inches at most. Furthermore, this gesture only accompanies the actual Elevations, and not the celebrant's accompanying genuflections.

Attached is a beautiful photograph of a Low Mass celebrated at Prinknash Abbey (UK) in 1940, illustrating perfectly how it should be done.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Commissions in 2016

Re-posted from 16th August and 3rd September

Owing to an unprecedented amount of Commissions for new vestments received by the Saint Bede Studio in the last several months, we wish to advise that our schedule of work for the period January - September 2016 is now closed. We regret any disappointment this may cause to those who have not yet made enquiries with us.

The Studio has commenced accepting commissions for 2017.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite : 3 (Revised)


PART THREE: CHASUBLES OF THE 16TH CENTURY 

Figure 1.
A chasuble made by the Saint Bede Studio
approximating the Borromeon dimensions.
Frequently, the Studio receives enquiries asking about the distinctions between the different styles of chasubles. Comments are also often seen on websites which indicate that this subject matter is still not well-known. Although this has been written about before on the blog, I wish to present a series of posts describing the styles of chasuble down the centuries until our own time. These posts ought to be regarded as brief overviews rather than scholarly treatments of the subject matter.

This post concerns the style of chasuble found in the sixteenth century and in particular that form deemed desirable by Saint Charles Borromeo. As has been written about elsewhere, Saint Charles set down regulations about any number of things pertaining to arrangements of churches and their ministers. From the earliest years of the Church until about the sixteenth century, the conical or bell-shaped chasuble had been the norm for the ministers at the altar. In the thirteenth century, as described in part two of this series, the shape of that chasuble was slightly modified for the greater convenience of the wearer.

Figure 2.
Detail of a 17th century French painting
depicting the Last Mass of Saint Benedict,
shewing a monk vested in an ample chasuble
of the dimensions recommended by Saint Charles.

Note the albes worn by the celebrant and acolytes
are of linen with close-fitting sleeves 
and the narrowest fringe of lace
ornamenting them : very dignified.
At the altar, the celebrant is placing a ciborium
into what appears to be a large hanging pyx.

From the fifteenth century, however, in various parts of Europe, but particularly northern Europe, vestment makers took it upon themselves to modify the chasuble still further to free-up the celebrant's arms. Thus, even at this early date but only in some places, that ugly shape referred to unkindly as the "fiddleback" began to appear. It is noteworthy that the truncation of the chasuble in this way was never sanctioned by Ecclesiastical authority. Whilst abbreviated chasubles were appearing North of the Alps, Rome retained the Tradition of the ample chasuble, as did Spain.

Figure 3.
Portrait of Saint John Paul II by the Russian artist Natalia Tsarkova
showing the Pope wearing a modern exemplar
of a chasuble according to the Borromeon dimensions.

Thus it was that Saint Charles, obviously disedified by what he deemed to be unseemly abbreviations of the form of the chasuble,  set down regulations for the benefit of his Diocese of Milan. These were the dimensions he believed to be the minimum in order for a chasuble to conform to Tradition. He prescribed that the chasuble was to be very long, reaching at the back almost to the heels of the wearer and wide enough so that it reached at least half way between the elbow and the wrist.


Figure 4.


The diagram above is a montage produced to help explain the difference between the ancient conical form and that modified form approved by Saint Charles. Note that the bell-shape has been altered by reducing fabric along the shoulder line of the vestment. Perhaps the most significant variation in chasuble-making of this period, however, was the modification of the angle of the shoulder line, to become far less acute.  The modified form leaves the arms of the wearer comparatively free, rather than wrapping itself around the wearer as the ancient conical form did (see figures 2 and 3 for chasubles in this modified form).  

Saint Charles did not draw-up designs for chasubles, nor did he specify how they were to be ornamented. His concern was that they remain ample, according to Tradition. The different looms on which fabric was woven determined, of course, the width of the chasuble. This is why historic paintings, drawings, sculptures etc sometimes shew chasubles of the Borromeon form which, whilst quite long, nevertheless do not reach beyond the midpoint of the forearm. There is great variation.

Lastly, we are pleased to include this detail from Beccafumi's painting The Miraculous Communion of Saint Catherine of Siena, circa 1515. This shews the form of chasuble that was to be found in Italy at the beginning of the sixteenth century. It closely corresponds to the dimensions prescribed by Saint Charles 80 years later. Note that, unlike the conical form, described in our first two posts, this chasuble does not fold upward from the lower edge, but instead, sits on the wearer.


Figure 5.

Saturday, 26 September 2015

A few words from a Studio customer

After a year of ups and downs for the Saint Bede Studio, this Appreciation, offered by one of our American customers, we are pleased to share with our readers :

Up until recently, it seems that major producers of liturgical vesture were more intent on recreating the Catholic aesthetic rather than reverencing it: catering to fads and novelty, rather than appealing to beauty and tradition.  Now, however, we can be grateful that truly dignified vesture is becoming more readily available to those concerned with cultivating authentic Catholic worship. The Saint Bede Studio has firmly established its place within this renewal, through the intelligently researched and carefully executed efforts of the Studio's proprietor, Michael Sternbeck. His workmanship and professionalism is to be highly commended, and customers will discover all those qualities to be expected in any true art: attention to detail, expert knowledge of methods, and quality materials.  Not unimportantly, in the Saint Bede Studio we have Catholic artisans working only for the Catholic Church.

A further word about materials is needed, however.  One of Saint Bede's most treasured assets must be its wide range of orphrey braids. These are designed by the Studio for the Studio's vestment-making use.  Few other producers of worthy Catholic vesture have access to materials made only for themselves. Without exaggeration, then, these unique braids thereby distinguish the Saint Bede Studio from every other producer of liturgical vesture. Certainly anyone in search of exceptional quality vesture of the Gothic Revival need look no further than the Saint Bede Studio. Still, as customers have come to understand, the work of the Studio hardly limits itself to this one style alone.

In the end, we can only be hopeful that renewal of Catholic worship will continue in many places. Quite simply, the Saint Bede Studio is to be highly, highly recommended. May God continue to bless and sustain its work: ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus.

Friday, 18 September 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 9

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

This post concerns Father Andrew Garnett of the Diocese of Rockville Centre (New York, USA), who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of Saint Agnes (Long Island NY) on 20th June along with four other candidates.

Father Garnett commissioned vestments in the Borromeon form. The chasuble (shewn adjacent), was sewn from a white-coloured silk damask in colours of silver and straw-gold and was ornamented in the Roman manner with a brocade in the colours of old rose and old gold, outlined with a narrow galloon. The vestments were lined in a straw-coloured taffeta.

Please pray for Father Garnett and for all newly-ordained priests.

Please click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Father Garnett during the Offering
of his First Holy Mass.

Image supplied by Father Garnett.



During the Ordination Mass in
Saint Agnes' Cathedral, Long Island USA.
Father Garnett is pictured 2nd from the left.

Image from the Diocese of Rockville Centre website.


Interior of the Cathedral of Saint Agnes
presently undergoing restoration.

Friday, 11 September 2015

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite : 2 (Revised)

PART TWO: THE SEMI-CONICAL CHASUBLE

A semi-conical chasuble
prepared by the Saint Bede Studio
for an American priest.

Frequently, the Studio receives enquiries asking about the distinctions between the different styles of chasubles. Comments are also often seen on websites which indicate that this subject matter is still not well-known. Although this has been written about before on the blog, we wish to present a series of articles describing the styles of chasuble down the centuries until our own time.


Semi-conical chasuble of S' Bernard 
kept at the Aachen Cathedral.

The modification of the shape of the chasuble which was handed on from the earliest centuries of the Church, and which was discussed in our previous article, seems to have been initiated solely for convenience to the wearer: the enveloping conical form greatly restricted arm movement. Although many authors specify the Thirteenth century as the period for the modification to the form, we find surviving chasubles  from the Twelfth century in the semi-conical form.


Semi-conical chasuble of S' Thomas Becket at the Sens Cathedral
Photograph reproduced under licence from Kornbluth Photography.

In the Thirteenth century, three further significant reasons brought about a desire to reduce the dimensions of the chasuble. The first was the introduction of the Elevations during the Canon of the Mass. The second was the rise of the private Mass, in other words, a Mass where the celebrant would not be assisted by a deacon and subdeacon (who were to lift and hold back the chasuble at certain points in the Mass to free the arms of the celebrant). Consequently, the celebrant had the need for a greater freedom of movement for his arms and the chasuble was redesigned in order to accommodate that. Additionally, the types of fabrics used for vestments changed from the Thirteenth century, and were heavier (often embroidered) and stiffer than the silks and wools used in previous centuries. In short, there were practical reasons to modify the dimensions of the chasuble.

How was the chasuble form modified? Modification happened in stages and not uniformly across the Church in the West. In the first instance, the semi-circular shape of the chasuble was cut back in such a way that the bulk of fabric to be supported on the arms was reduced. The chasubles depicted above, said to have been worn by Saint Bernard (1090-1153) and Saint Thomas Becket (1118-1170) are examples of this earliest modification. Notice that what had been a bell-shaped garment has become pointed. According to some scholars, the introduction of shoulder seams allowed the width of the chasuble form progressively to be reduced from the traditional conical form, but this will be discussed in the third article in this series.


Detail of a 15th century painting 
depicting Saint Augustine 
wearing a semi-conical chasuble.

The photograph of S' Thomas Becket's chasuble was made available by Dr Genevra Kornbluth.  It may not be reproduced.  Other images of the Becket vestments may be seen at the same site.


The back and front of a semi-conical chasuble 
made by the Saint Bede Studio.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Priestly Ordinations 2015 : 8

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for priestly Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception.

This post concerns Father Ryan Sliwa of the Diocese Springfield (USA), who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral Church of Saint Michael, Springfield (Massachusetts) on 6th June.

Father Sliwa commissioned vestments from the Studio inspired by Mediaeval exemplars. The vestments - a semi-conical chasuble and cope (shewn adjacent) - were sewn from a shade of ivory silk damask and were ornamented with a simple orphrey in colours of blue, red, ivory and gold.  The vestments were lined in a mediaeval blue taffeta.



Father Sliwa very kindly supplied us with photographs of his Ordination and First Holy Mass, which we are pleased to include.


Father Sliwa during the Offering of his First Holy Mass.

Father Sliwa flanked by a deacon and an assistant priest
during the celebration of his First Holy Mass.
Note the reliquaries upon the altar.

The Bishop of Springfield presenting the sacred vessels
to Father Sliwa during the Mass of Ordination.

Please pray for Father Sliwa and for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Puginesque Vestments

A young priest from the Archdiocese of New York commissioned vestments made in the Gothic Revival form from the Saint Bede Studio. The chasuble (shewn in the adjacent photograph) was made from an ecclesiastical brocade in a shade of crimson red. The vestments were lined in royal blue cotton.

The orphrey braid used to ornament these vestments is one of several which have been especially designed by the Saint Bede Studio. A chasuble design by AWN  Pugin in the collection of Saint Chad's Cathedral, Birmingham, was the basis for the design of this braid.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : stbede62@gmail.com

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Dalmatic in the 16th century style

Recently, the Saint Bede Studio completed a chasuble and dalmatic based on the style of the16th century for the use of a North American Parish. In this post, we feature the dalmatic, which is made from ecclesiastical brocade and ornamented with a narrow galloon in the Roman style.

From the 16th century onward, the manner of decorating dalmatics changed from the earlier ornamental schemes. From earliest time until the present day, dalmatics have typically been decorated with two strips of ornament called clavus (plural clavi) running parallel to each other down the full length of the vestment.

From the 16th century, the clavi, which had been paired typically at a distance of approximately 30 cm (12 inches) or less, came to be separated much more widely. The apparels - being fabric ornaments which linked the two clavi together,  generally positioned below the neckline of the dalmatic - were also greatly enlarged in size; we might say disproportionately so. In subsequent centuries these ungainly apparels were abandoned and only their outlining galloons remained as the typical form of decoration of the Roman dalmatic.

This simple dalmatic has the widely-spaced clavi, with the apparel being indicated by an outlining braid.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Chasubles of the Roman Rite (Revisited) : 1

PART ONE: THE CONICAL CHASUBLE

A chasuble in the fully-conical form.
Frequently, the Studio receives enquiries asking about the distinctions between the different styles of chasubles.  Comments are also often seen on websites which indicate that this subject matter is still not well-known.  Although this has been written about before on the blog, we wish to present a series of articles describing the styles of chasuble down the centuries until our own time.  These articles were first published on this Blog in 2012.

The ancestor of the liturgical vestment called the chasuble is a garment of ancient Rome called the paenula. It was a semi-circular cloak, sewn together down the front and completely covering the arms. It was a garment for everyday wear by the lower classes, but was also worn by the upper classes and by women for travel and in bad weather.  From the Fifth century, a garment of similar shape but made in richer material was adopted by the Roman upper classes for ceremonial wear and this planeta was the immediate ancestor of our chasuble. Then, from the 9th century, a third name was given to a cloak which was still in the shape of the early paenula, and like it was a protective outer garment for the poor: casula (Latin for “little house”). For a time, the secular and liturgical use of these three similar garments continued side by side. It was the shape of these garments, rather than their use which came to be associated with the liturgical chasuble.

Well-preserved conical chasuble 
of S' Vitalis, dating from eleventh century.
Note the "TAU" orphrey, 
ornamenting the chasuble.
From the Tenth century, what we know as the chasuble consisted of a semi-circle of material with the two halves of the straight edge folded together and sewn down the front leaving an opening at the neck. The neck opening was sometimes widened slightly, leaving a short horizontal opening near the top of the centre seam. This shape is referred to as the conical or bell chasuble. It was not until the turn of the Tenth and Eleventh centuries that the chasuble was recognised everywhere as the vestment exclusively to be used for the Mass. But even until well into the Eleventh century, it continued to be worn by deacons, lectors and acolytes, not exclusively by priests.

An early mediaeval illustration of
Saint Gregory the Great
shewing him vested in pontificals
including a fully-conical chasuble.
For readers who may be unfamiliar with this style, the shape of a conical chasuble is very similar to that of a bell. Consequently, in order for the wearer to use his arms, the conical chasuble must be pulled up at the sides and the fabric allowed to rest in the small of the arms. When this happens, the vestment folds upward from the bottom in a manner quite distinctive.  Many illustrations, statues and monuments from late Antiquity to the Middle Ages regularly show vestments with precisely these folds.

A conical chasuble is not for celebrants who like to move their arms around a great deal, but it is quite manageable if the arms always remain extended or joined.


Small, but beautiful conical chasuble of
the thirteenth century preserved
in the Church of S' Yves de Louannec.
Note that this chasuble is devoid of ornament.

A rendering of the famous mosaic in the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome.
This section of the mosaic depicts 
Pope Saint Clement standing at the altar during Mass.
The Pope is wearing a fully-conical chasuble.
This mosaic has frequently been misrepresented 
as depicting a modified conical chasuble,
cut-away in the front to form a V-shape. This is quite incorrect.
 A conical chasuble with the preponderance of the fabric 
thrown towards the back of the wearer, 
instead of upon his arms, will produce exactly this effect.
The Eastern chasuble developed 
from such a manner of wearing the conical chasuble.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries: stbede62@gmail.com