Saturday 25 December 2010

Christmas Greetings

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

Monday 20 December 2010

Borromeon Form arrives in New Zealand

Recently I had the pleasure of meeting a young priest from New Zealand and shewing him those styles of chasuble which have become known as the S' Philip Neri and Borromeon forms.  These are interpretations by the Saint Bede Studio of chasubles used in the 16th century, based on works of art and surviving chasubles from the period.

The young priest was quite enthusiastic about these styles, not least so because of their being so convenient to wear.  Adjacent is a photograph of the Borromeon chasuble chosen by the priest, which he now uses in his parish in New Zealand.  

We can't claim that it is the first chasuble of the revived Borromeon form in New Zealand, but it is certainly amongst the first, "for nothing is impossible to God".


Click on the image for an enlarged view.

A modern interpretation of the ancient chasuble

Shewn in the adjacent photograph is the Saint Bede Studio's alternative to the contemporary chasuble.  This vestment, which we call The Saint Martin chasuble is quite long and wide, reaching beyond the wrists of the wearer.  In developing this design, the Studio wished to present a more modern "feel" of chasuble but with the ancient decoration of the Tau, used in Rome for more than a millenium.

These vestments, prepared for an Australian priest presently studying in Rome, are made from dupion silk and ornamented with an ecclesiatical brocade in wine-red and gold.  The vestments are fully lined, yet not unduly heavy.


Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Rosa Mystica

A priest resident in Germany, commissioned the Studio to make a vestment for use on Gaudete Sunday.  The Rosa Mystica chasuble, shewn adjacent, will be used in the venerable Cathedral Parish of Frankfurt-am-Main.  The chasuble is made from a damask, ornamented with a Gothic foliage braid, and lined in grey cotton.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Monday 6 December 2010

On the Immaculate Conception BVM

A young priest in the United States commissioned the Studio to make a set of vestments in the "Borromeon" form, to be used for feasts of the Blessed Virgin. The result is shewn adjacent. This design we have named Regina Coeli.

These vestments are made from a white brocade which features a stylised fleur-de-lis in the form of a Cross. The ornament is formed from a blue and silver damask, outlined with a silver-coloured narrow galloon. The chasuble is lined in peacock-blue dupion silk.

The vestments will be used for the first time on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.  Our priest-customer,  for whom we had made vestments previously, contacted us about this vestment:

I would like to take a moment to thank Michael for the truly amazing craftsmanship which goes into each of his vestments. I am currently in the process of trying to reinvigorate the Liturgy at my Parish, to bring back that sense of beauty and awe which many Catholics have unfortunately lost even when they stand in the presence of Jesus Christ Himself. Michael's vestments have added immensely to this undertaking. Comments on these pieces of liturgical art have been completely unexpected, with one parishioner actually stating that seeing the priest in such beautiful vestments allowed them for the first time to have an understanding of priest "in persona Christi" as Christ the King. This particular set of BVM vestments is truly resplendent. It was my honor to celebrate the Sacred Mass in them in honor of Mary our Mother. Make no mistake, beautiful vestments do not make the Mass! Nor should they just be done for "show" or "appearance." However, in my experience they benefit the People of God and allow them to better understand that they stand with the angels and Saints worshipping God every time they pray the Holy Mass.

Click on the picture for an enlarged view.


Sunday 5 December 2010

What colour vestments should be worn during Advent?

I often read here and there vigorous assertions about the "correct" colour of vestments to be used during Lent and Advent.  Curious as to the history of these colours in Liturgical use,  I researched and posted an article a few years ago on this Blog about use of penitential colours for the Seasons of Advent, Lent &c.  If you have wondered what colour the Church recommends for these Seasons, you will find the article illuminating.  That post may be read here and here, so I don't intend to rehearse its findings. 

Instead, always most interesting, 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 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 "Church of England" practice 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.