Thursday 30 August 2012

The amice apparel : 1

Not infrequently, we receive questions about vestments which appear on this blog which have an unusual collar-like attachment.  This attachment is called an APPAREL.  Sometimes when shopping at the supermarket, one finds a sign in one of the aisles saying "Apparel": these are not, however, for liturgical use.  The liturgical apparel is not, in fact, attached to the chasuble, but to the amice and has been a form of decoration used with vestments for a millenium.  

The history of the amice apparel will be the subject of a further post. This post, however, is an illustrated guide to the archane mystery of wearing an amice apparel.

Our first illustration (above) shews the apparel sitting on top of the amice.  Notice that the apparel is set back approximately one-and-half inches or 4-5 cm from the upper edge of the amice.  This allows the amice to be tucked into the collar of the albe or cassock once the chasuble has been put on, creating a tidier appearance (see the fourth illustration).  Our first illustration shews the position where pins may be used to attach the apparel to the amice.  Note that pins are used on only ONE EDGE of the apparel, not to both edges.  Also note that the ends of the apparel are NOT pinned down.

Our second illustration (above) shews the apparelled amice sitting on the head after the albe has been put on.  In the usual method of wearing an amice, the amice is tucked into the collar before the albe is put on.  But it remains over the head when an apparel is used.  The face is not a portrait.

Our third illustration (above) shews the apparelled amice still sitting on the head after the stole and chasuble have been put on.

Our fourth illustration (above) shews the apparel in its final resting place.  Having been pulled back down from the head, the unencumbered edge of the amice is tucked into the alb or cassock collar.  This draws the apparel together and gives a tidier appearance at the neckline.  Thus the apparel sits free of both the chasuble and amice, as shewn above. Sometimes, assistance will be needed to tuck the back of the amice into the chasuble.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Sunday 26 August 2012

Altar of Saint Gregory the Great

Above the altar of Pope Saint Gregory the Great in Saint Peter's Basilica is a painting by Andrea Sacchi of the well-known miracle which occurred as Saint Gregory offered Mass.  Sacchi is said to have painted this in 1625.  The image below reproduces the entire painting, but the image above is a cropped version, which shews more clearly the vestments Saint Gregory is depicted as wearing.

We can deduce from this painting that in the first quarter of the 17th century, vestments were still being used in Rome which conformed to the directions set down more than a century earlier by Saint Charles Borromeo.  The chasuble on Saint Gregory is shewn to reach almost to the elbow, but is also folded back, indicating that it was wider still.  We also note that the chasuble is ornamented in what had become, even by then, the established Roman manner: a TAU in the front.  The stole, also, is quite long, although broad in the style of this period.  But a small amount of lace ornaments the albe of Saint Gregory in this painting.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Friday 24 August 2012

Diocese of Richmond

One of our esteemed customers, Father Brian Capuano, was recently installed as the pastor of S' Joseph's Parish, Petersburg by the Bishop of Richmond (Virginia), the Most Rev'd F.X. DiLorenzo.

Father Capuano very kindly sent this photograph of the occasion.

The Studio had made for Father Capuano a set of green Saint Austin vestments, which are described here.

Please note that the vestments and mitre worn by the Bishop in this photograph were not made by the Saint Bede Studio.


Tuesday 21 August 2012

Chasuble of S' Thomas Becket: 2

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.

In this post, we are pleased to reproduce a drawing of some of the Becket vestments (chasuble, mitre and stole) which appears in the 1874 monograph  Military and Religious Life in the Middle Ages and at the Period of the Renaissance, written by Paul Lacroix.

This is a rather good drawing, because it reveals many details of the vestments which are not immediately apparent from a photograph.

A previous post on this subject may be viewed here.

Click on the image for an enlarged view.

Sunday 19 August 2012

Priestly Ordinations 2012: 3

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

The third in this series of Ordination vestments features a  sets of vestments prepared for the Rev'd James Mangan who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in Saint Mary's Cathedral, Diocese of Lansing (Michigan USA) on 23rd June.

The ordinand asked for a set of vestments in the Saint Philip Neri style.  A beautiful silk damask in a muted shade of gold was chosen for the vestments (a chasuble and dalmatic).

The dalmatic was ornamented simply in the Roman style with an outline galloon in burgundy and gold, whilst the chasuble had its orphreys enhanced with a Renaissance-style damask in crimson and old gold. The vestments were fully lined in burgundy dupion silk.

The adjacent photographs shew the dalmatic and chasuble.

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

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Thursday 16 August 2012

Chasuble Styles of the Roman Rite: 5


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.

Previous posts: Part One  Part Two  Part Three Part Four

For this post, we are pleased to quote an excellent monograph first published in 1926 by the English scholar, Raymond James.  The work is titled The Origin and Development of Roman Liturgical Vestments.  Mr James writes (pp 19-20):

(From the Eighteenth) until the 19th century... the story of the development of sacred vestments is a sad one: "development" seems indeed hardly the word to use. It was to this period, and especially to the 18th century - that nadir of all the Christian centuries - that we owe the bib-like chasuble, truncated stole and maniple, shrunken surplices or cottas and other similar vestments - all mere caricatures of the traditional form.

If anything at all is certain, it is that the Church did not initiate the process which resulted in producing these, but rather that she shewed herself on more than one occasion opposed to it.

Mr James, supports his remarks with many quotations from scholars and bishops. But it is seems sensible just to include this one from the Dictionary of Sacred Objects published in Venice in 1735 by the editor Magri (p 24):

Little by little, instead of being turned back at the sides, it was cut away instead, so that it came to resemble no longer a chasuble, but rather a monastic scapular. On this point, the Greeks deserve much praise, since they have retained the ancient shape (the loss of which by the Latin Church has been a great misfortune, since) in the shape of the ancient chasuble much majesty and many mysteries were contained; it originally represented, amongst other things, the Unity of the Church and the Seamless Garment of Christ, and this in its present cut-away condition it manifestly can no longer do.

A once ample chasuble of the 15th century,
mutilated in the 18th century into the "scapular" form.
(The Victoria & Albert Museum)
More on this subject need not be written, except to remark how pitiful it is that so many folk regard this debased form of chasuble as Traditional (or "Super-Trad" as I recently had the misfortune to see written) whilst despising more ample chasubles as being Modern.  Although the "fiddleback" chasuble has been made continuously since the 18th century, how sad to observe that vestment-makers, with renewed vigour, have returned to the making of these caricatures.

The last gasp before the ravages of the 18th century:
A chasuble of Roman origin, but significantly longer and slightly wider
than the so-called "fiddleback".

The logical "development" of clipping-back:
the chasuble no more than a scapular.

Wednesday 15 August 2012

Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

As described in previous posts, the Studio has been working on a commission for a Solemn Mass set in green.  The set was constructed for the Centenary of the Sacred Heart Church, Robbinsdale, a Parish in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The vestments are made from a Green English brocade, lined in gold silk and ornamented with an orphrey braid in Red and gold, enhanced with applique and outlined with a green galloon. 

The vestments, together with a complementing mitre (adjacent photograph) was presented to the Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on the occasion of the Church's centenary, 26th September, 2011.  The photograph below shews the chasuble presented to the Archbishop.

previous post described another part of the set.   

Click on the photographs for an enlarged view. 


Tuesday 7 August 2012

Words, Words, Words

One of the characteristics of the Roman Rite until the Introduction of the Pauline Missal in 1970, was the balance it achieved between silence, singing, the spoken word and ritual action.  Even the so-called Interim Rite, which had various iterations between 1964 and 1968, still preserved much of this balance.  The Roman Rite "spoke" to people on a number of levels, not just the cerebral level.  Its silences spoke, its aesthetics spoke, its unique and unworldly music spoke.

On the other hand, one of the great flaws of the Pauline Missal is that it is far too cerebral.  Everything has to be comprehensible intellectually.  The Council Fathers decreed that the Church's Rites had to be "intelligible", but unhappily, the Pauline Missal took this injunction too far.

The typical celebration of the New Mass, Ordinary Form, call it what you will is very wordy.  If the texts in the Missal itself weren't more than enough, we are also subjected to little commentaries, even ferverini during the Mass.  Words, words, words.  Too many words.

At the same time, ritual action in the New Mass has been reduced to a minimum.  Silence is imposed by the celebrant, rather than being organic to the Rite.  One bizarre example of this, which I have experienced too often, is the celebrant, having preached his homily, goes and sits down and a period of silence is endured.  Presumably we are to meditate on his spoken wisdom.

This experience of mine (over the entire life of the New Mass) is among the reasons why I remain lukewarm to a concept which has been floated in the last week of introducing a form of vernacular into the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  Let us be very careful to avoid an overly-cerebral approach to the Sacred Liturgy (New or Old).  Might we not aim, rather, to recapture and preserve that old balance of the Roman Rite: silence and song supporting the Ritual actions?

Sunday 5 August 2012

The Season "Per Annum" : 3

The Studio has been working on a commission for a Solemn Mass set in green.  The set was constructed for the Centenary of the Sacred Heart Church, Robbinsdale, a Parish in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

The vestments are made from a Green English brocade, lined in red silk and ornamented with an orphrey braid in Red, burgundy and gold.  This braid, based on a design by AWN Pugin, has been especially produced for the Saint Bede Studio to commemorate the Pugin Bicentenary year.

The adjacent photograph shews a chasuble from this set.  A previous post described another part of the set.   

Click on the photograph for an enlarged view.


Saturday 4 August 2012

World Youth Day 2008

Just over four years ago was all the excitement of the Pope's visit to Australia for World Youth Day.  Recently, this colourful image taken by an unidentified photographer was discovered on the internet.  It shews the Pope processing into Saint Mary's Cathedral, Sydney at the Mass for Seminarians and Religous.  It was a memorable occasion.

His Holiness is wearing the vestments and mitre made by the Saint Bede Studio especially for that Mass, and which are now housed in the sacristy of the Vatican Basilica.  Maybe we will see them worn again someday.

Friday 3 August 2012

Hieratic Language

Fifty years ago, the Fathers of the Council and, it seems, priests and bishops worldwide were gripped by the idea that a Glorious New Age for Christendom would be ushered in IF ONLY vernacular language could be introduced into the Roman Liturgy.

Guess what?  That Glorious New Age didn't come about.  Instead, those with a fervour for Reform brought about one of the greatest periods of upheaval in the history of the Church.  We are very far from being recovered from that.  A good beginning has been the new translation of the Pauline Missale Romanum, the product of years of work, which we are settling into now.  This is a great blessing for the Church.

This is not enough for some, it seems.  More is needed, it seems.  We need an alternative in which the language is more hieratic, it seems.  Not only that, but we have been asked to take a survey to prove a theory (amongst other things) that the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite can only be saved from becoming an obscurity or a relic if vernacular language is introduced into it.  This has an all-too familiar ring to it of the Liturgical experiments of 1964-69.

Does history have nothing to teach us?

How many liturgical experts have been telling us over the last 50 years "If only we do this, everything will be well!"?  I read (with disbelief) one such recently in a comment box at the Chant Cafe Blog, who believed that we need to recreate the pre-Constantinian liturgy in order to have a purer form of worship.  Dear me...

Let's just leave the Extraordinary Form alone, thanks very much.  It has much to offer those who participate in it, just as is.  If you don't understand Latin, there are Missals available for you.  And for those who don't like the Extraordinary Form, don't worry!  You don't have to attend it:  there is the Ordinary Form aplenty for you.

This is one of those rare occasions when I have allowed myself the liberty of speaking candidly about something which has irked me.  I hope I haven't offended anyone by doing so.

PS At this time, when negotiations towards Reconciliation between the Holy See and the Society of Saint Pius X (sometimes referred to as the Lefebvrists) are slowly inching forward, I think it unwise and impolitic to be publically proposing modifications and "improvements" to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.  After all, the question of the Mass has been central to the spirituality of that Society.