Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Saint Philip Neri vestments

In this post, we are pleased to describe a set of vestments in the style of Saint Philip Neri, which was commissioned by a returning customer from the  USA.

These vestments were made from a silk lampas in a rich and darker shade of red and ornamented with a brocade in crimson-red and straw-gold.  A braid outlines the ornament front and back.  The lining of these vestments was formed from a bronze-shade of taffeta.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : This page.

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

The Bidding Prayers : 1

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council Sacrosanctum Concilium laid down the desire of the Fathers for the restoration of intercessions:

53. The “common prayer” or “prayer of the faithful” is to be restored after the gospel and homily, especially on Sundays and holidays of obligation. By this prayer - in which the people are to take part - intercession will be made for holy Church, for the civil authorities, for those oppressed by various needs, for all mankind, and for the salvation of the entire world.

This paragraph made reference to Saint Paul’s admonition at 1 Tim. 2:1-2. This paragraph is found – with only slight alterations – in the General Instructions on the Roman Missal.

Such intercessions are, therefore, of Apostolic origin, and were everywhere known by the time of Saint Augustine. The Solemn Orations of the Good Friday Afternoon Liturgy were the only survival of such intercessions in the Roman Missal for centuries. In the East, however, they were preserved in the unvarying Litanies, or Ektenia that are prayed throughout the celebration of the Divine Liturgy. From the East, such intercessions made their way during the first millennium into the various Rites in England and, centuries later, were incorporated into the Services of the Church of England, long after they had ceased being a usual feature of the Roman Rite.

Anciently, the intercessions formed part of non-Eucharistic prayer service (sometimes called a Synaxis). But when such services came to be usually celebrated immediately before the Eucharistic Liturgy, the intercessions gradually fell into disuse. This was because intercessions made during the Eucharistic Liturgy often repeated those found in the Synaxis. Such was the origin of the Roman Mass being described in two parts: the Mass of the Catechumens and the Mass of the Faithful.

What is found in almost all the ancient examples of these intercessions are common intentions, which were summarised and made explicit by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council.

It was never envisaged by the Council - nor was it part of the ancient practice - that such intercessions vary on a daily basis, nor that there be any inclusion of extemporaneous prayer. It might easily be argued that the Council Fathers wished that these intercessions would become fixed in people’s consciousness, by being prayed week after week. Such is the practice with our Eastern brethren.

Upon this simple concept outlined by the Council Fathers, there have been many accretions over the last 50 years. Not uncommonly, we find intercessions anaemic in their theological content and not specifically Christian in their outlook. We commonly find the intercessions to be linked to the Propers of the Mass, and the lections of the Mass of the Day, as if “theme” were all-important. But this was never intended by the Council Fathers. Furthermore, a new and more noble translation of the Roman Missal for the English-speaking world has highlighted the often unsacral, even trite expression of these intercessions. But even the formulae found in the Roman Missal are so terse as easily to be described as bland.

Further posts in this small series will examine some forms of Intercession drawn-up immediately after the first liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

Saturday, 6 February 2021

Mitre in honour of BVM

Recently, the Saint Bede Studio completed a mitre for an esteemed customer, being intended as a gift for a bishop in New Jersey (USA).

The mitre was made from a white jacquard with small woven fleur-de-lis and ornamented with dupion silk in a lovely shade of blue.  The circulus and titulus of the mitre were formed from this dupion silk and a golden galloon.  The lining of the mitre and of the lappets were also made from the same dupion silk.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Friday, 29 January 2021

Priestly Ordinations 2020 : 3

The Saint Bede Studio
In this post, we are pleased to describe a set of vestments in the Saint Bede Studio's Saint Austin Gothic Revival style, which was commissioned by an ordinand from Vancouver, Canada.

These vestments were made from an ecclesiastical brocade in a lovely shade of green and ornamented with one of the Studio's unique braids.  The lining of these vestments was formed from a brassy-gold shade of taffeta.

Please pray for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : This page.

Green Gothic Vestments

Green Gothic Revival vestments

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Orphrey braids of the Saint Bede Studio

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio adds to its column of orphrey braids.  Most of our braids are derived from precedents, either Gothic Revival or Mediaeval. They are never merely copies, but always have original touches to enhance the diversity of their use.

These unique braids are designed by the Studio and only used in conjunction with our vestments. They are not commercially available, nor available to any other vestment makers and are reserved under international copyright. *

The braids shewn in the adjacent image are used for orphreys in both the Gothic and Roman  styles of vestments designed and made by the Studio.

A key to the illustrated braids :

  1. Maria Regina
  2. English Rose
  3. Saint Columba
  4. Chi Rho
  5. Saint James
  6. Stella
  7. Saint Marie
  8. Saint Austin
  9. Welbye
  10. Saint George
  11. Saint Edmund (green/red)
  12. Salisbury
  13. Saint Edmund (silver/red)
  14. Saint Chad (green/red)
  15. Saint Giles
  16. Rosa Antiqua
  17. Lux Aeterna
  18. Saint Dunstan
  19. Saint Chad (blue/red).

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Enquiries :

* This measure has been necessary because of an unpleasant experience in which a manufacturer misappropriated one of the Studio's unique designs and then sold it for his own commercial gain.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

Deaconesses and Recent Difficulties

In May of 2016 we heard that the tired subject of a "female diaconate" had been raised again, but this time - most disappointingly - by the Bishop of Rome who, in an "impromptu" remark during a meeting with Religious gathered in Rome, claimed that the history of deaconesses in the Early Church is "obscure".  In August 2016, the Vatican Bulletin announced the formation of a Commission to study this, which the Pope has decided upon "after intense prayer and mature reflection". *

The history of deaconesses in the Early Church is only obscure to those who either have not studied the issue, or to those who are determined to force such an innovation upon the Church.  The Commission did meet and did not support the introduction of a female diaconate based upon the practice of the Early Church.  That was in 2018.  But then in 2019, the agitators were at it again and as has become notoriously obvious, the promoters of this innovation will not accept "no" as the answer.

Giotto's 13th century depiction
of Saint Stephen the protomartyr
and deacon.
The history of deaconesses in the early Church was the focus of a definitive study published in 1982 by the distinguished French liturgiologist, Monsignor Aime-Georges Martimort.  Ignatius Press published a translation of this wonderful work in 1986 Deaconesses : An Historical Study, which is still in print. I urge you to obtain this book and read it (it assumes a working knowledge of Greek and Latin). It also appears to be available to be read online.

But, above all is to be noted the deliberations of a previous Commission of the Holy See into this very subject, published only 14 years ago and which may be read in full here.

Deaconesses DID exist in the Early Church but they WERE NOT female deacons. Their ministry was narrowly defined, completely distinct from the ministry of the deacon and DID NOT include any liturgical role at the altar, where, according to Apostolic Tradition, no woman set foot. This is not what present-day advocates of deaconesses are seeking. They are seeking the feminisation of the Church's Orders and a ministry at the altar. This is not Tradition, it is innovation.

This week past, motu proprio, the Bishop of Rome has made another change to a discipline of Apostolic origin.  The argument that the Offices of Lector and Acolyte can be considered in distinction from the Orders of Deacon and Priest is not a Catholic approach, and represents a rupture with Tradition.  What this will create for the Church we cannot be certain, but we do have a clue, being what has happened within the Anglican Communion over the past 40 years.

What separates the Orders of the Roman and the Eastern Churches from the ministries of Protestant denominations is Apostolic Tradition.  We compromise that link to our great peril.  One of the insights of the Second Vatican Council was to emphasise that the laity has roles and responsibilities which complement and yet are distinct from Ministry at the altar.  We could start with the spreading of the Gospel in this age of Unbelief.  Yet here we are almost 60 years later, still talking about why it is "urgent" that lay men and women minister at the altar.

* These are the actual words of the Vatican Bulletin and presumably are not intended to be ironic.

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Priestly Ordinations 2020 : 2

In this post, we are pleased to describe a set of vestments in the style of Saint Philip Neri, which was commissioned by an ordinand from Oklahoma USA.

These vestments were made from silk dupion in a rich and darker shade of red and ornamented with a damask in crimson-red and straw-gold.  A braid outlines the ornament front and back.  The lining of these vestments was formed from a bronze-shade of taffeta.

Please pray for all newly-ordained priests.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Enquiries : This page.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

The Epiphany

Fairer than the sun at morning
Was the star that told his birth ;
To the lands their God announcing,
Hid beneath a form of earth.

Solemn things of mystic meaning !
Incense doth the God disclose ;
Gold a royal Child proclaimeth ;
Myrrh a future tomb foreshews.

Holy Jesu, in thy brightness
To the Gentile world display'd,
With the Father and the Spirit,
Endless praise to thee be paid.

Thursday, 31 December 2020



This lovely drawing by the English artist Eric Gill depicts an Angel visiting the Child Jesus and his Mother, Mary.  Mary is sitting knitting.  Around the perimeter is written (in Latin) "Let all things praise God, who created (them)."

The ingenious part of this drawing is that by enclosing the figures within a circle, Gill also depicts the planet Earth, with its masses of land and oceans.  The Mother and Child are in the world, yet all things are under their care.  The angels watch over us.

May the Christ-child and his Blessed Mother bring peace and health in mind and body to our troubled world.

The Saint Bede Studio wishes all its customers and readers every Blessing in 2021.