Sunday 24 June 2012

Chasubles Style of the Roman Rite: 3


A chasuble approximating the dimensions of the Borromeon 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, 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 16th 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 16th century, the conical or bell-shaped chasuble had been the norm for the ministers at the altar.  In the 13th century, as described in part two of this series, the shape of that chasuble was slightly modified for the greater convenience of the wearer.

Detail of a 17th century French painting of the Miraculous Mass of Saint Martin, shewing the Saint vested in an ample chasuble of the dimensions recommended by Saint Charles.
From the 15th 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.

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 half way between the elbow and the wrist.

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.  The modified form leaves the arms of the wearer comparatively free, but also it sits on the wearer like a Mexican poncho, rather than wraps itself around the wearer as the ancient conical form did.

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 16th 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.

Thursday 21 June 2012

Under the Southern Cross

On Friday 15th June, Pope Benedict established an Anglican Ordinariate for Australia under the Patronage of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Saint Augustine of Canterbury.  An Anglican bishop, Father Harry Enwistle, was ordained in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Perth and named as the new Ordinary. 

After the Ordination, the Archbishop of Perth, the Most Rev'd Timothy Costelloe SDB and the auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, the Most Rev'd Peter Elliott presented to Monsignor Enwistle the mitre shewn in the adjacent photograph, which had been specially made for the occasion by the Saint Bede Studio.

Congratulations to the Reverend Monsignor Harry Entwistle and all those Australian Anglicans who are accepting the Pope's invitation to union with Rome.  Welcome!

Click on the image for an enlarged view.


Wednesday 20 June 2012

Chasuble of S' Thomas Becket:1

Every now and then in the Liturgical Blogdom, interest appears in the famous chasuble of S' Thomas Becket, preserved at the Sens Cathedral.  The Saint Bede Studio is occasionally approached by priests seeking vestments based on the striking design of that ancient chasuble.  For the Ordination of Father Michael Rowe of the Archdiocese of Perth in 1994, the Studio did design such a set of vestments.  We are pleased to include some photographs of them in this post.

The chasuble being used at the First Mass of Father Andrew Benton in 2009.
This chasuble is in the fully conical form, which is bell-shaped, and is made from an ivory ecclesiastical brocade. A yellow-gold brocade in the form of a chevron is used to ornament the chasuble, together with a braid in Royal Blue and gold. The design of this chasuble does not identically reproduce S' Thomas' chasuble, but rather is a modern interpretation of it.  The original, of course, is not white, but rather made from dark purple silk.  A second post will describe the actual Becket chasuble itself.

During the Solemn Mass of Father Benton, 2009.

Shewing the striking combination of braids and folds.

Photographs of the First Mass of Father Andrew Benton of the Archdiocese of Sydney, were taken by Dr Chris Steward.  


Monday 18 June 2012

Priestly Ordinations 2012:1

We are pleased to begin again our annual series of vestments prepared by the Studio for Ordinands.

The first in this series of Ordination vestments features a chasuble prepared for the Rev'd Bartholomew Porzezinski who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of S' Florian, Archdiocese of Warsaw on 2nd June.

The ordinand asked for a chasuble in the Saint Martin design. This design is extremely ample and is intended to be more contemporary in appearance, even though based in Catholic traditions. An ivory ecclesiastical brocade was chosen for the chasuble, ornamented with a brocade of burgundy and gold, outlined with a narrow galloon. The ornamentation is in the traditional Roman style of the TAU. The chasuble was fully lined in gold taffeta.

Father Porzezinski very kindly sent some photographs of his First Mass in the church of the Blessed Virgin, Queen of Poland, Wolomin. We are pleased to include some here.

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

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Thursday 14 June 2012

The Season "Per Annum"

The adjacent photographs shew a set of vestments completed for a priest of the Archdiocese of Sydney in the Saint Martin style developed by the Saint Bede Studio.  The chasuble is made from a forest green brocade and ornamented  with a rich burgundy and gold contrasting brocade in the Roman style.  Unlike other examples of the Saint Martin chasuble, these vestments lack any additional ornamenting galloons.  To enhance the appearance of the chasuble, however, Crosses in green, straw and red have been added as applique to the orphrey.  The vestments are fully lined in a rust-red cotton.

Click on the photographs for an enlarged view.


Monday 11 June 2012

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite: 2


Semi-conical chasuble made for an Ordinand by the Saint Bede Studio.
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 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 13th century as the period for the modification to the form, we find surviving chasubles  from the 12th 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 13th 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 13th 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.

A 15th century painting depicting S' Augustine wearing a semi-conical 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 our next article.

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.


Saturday 2 June 2012

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite


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 articles describing the styles of chasuble down the centuries until our own time.

Well-preserved conical chasuble of S' Vitalis, dating from 11th century
The ancestor of the liturgical vestment called the chasuble is a Roman garment 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 5th 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.

Small, but beautiful conical chasuble of the 13th century preserved in the Church of S' Yves de Louannec
From the 10th 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 10th and 11th centuries that the chasuble was recognised everywhere as the vestment exclusively to be used for the Mass. But even until well into the 11th century, it continued to be worn by deacons, lectors and acolytes, not exclusively by priests.

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 wave their arms around a lot, but it is quite manageable if the arms always remain extended or joined. Unlike the more commonly-found chasubles, the conical chasuble must be tailored to the shape of the wearer's shoulders, otherwise it fits very ill.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.