The "Universal Call to Holiness" Bas Relief by Rugo Stone

The "Universal Call to Holiness" Bas Relief by Rugo Stone Stonework frequently doesn't get the attention it deserves and yet quality stonework frequently can 'make or break' a church project. In point of fact, when we consider the churches of old, their beautiful marble revetments are frequently points of particular no…

The Art of Mending Vestments: Guild of St Clare

The Art of Mending Vestments: Guild of St Clare It is universally true that vestments should be well maintained. Many thanks to the Guild of St. Clare in London for their important work, helping to repair vestments --a necessary service to help enhance the worthy celebration of the rites. This delicate art has traditiona…

Baltimore Basilica's Adoration Chapel Tabernacle by Granda

Baltimore Basilica's Adoration Chapel Tabernacle by Granda On a recent visit to the historic Baltimore Basilica I found myself pleasantly surprised when I stumbled into what has been transformed into a perpetual adoration chapel in the basement crypt or undercroft of the Basilica. In fact, the experience was deeply moving as my hea…

The Elements of the Altar or Holy Table in the Byzantine Tradition

The Elements of the Altar or Holy Table in the Byzantine Tradition While we have covered off considerations of the altar in the Latin rite, we have yet to ever provide any description of the adornment of the altar -- or "holy table" -- in the Byzantine East.  Many of you have no doubt seen images of such altars at some point and …

Introducing A&M Ornamentos Vestments in Spain

Introducing A&M Ornamentos Vestments in Spain As readers know, we are witnessing a veritable renaissance of vestment making all over the world. I would like to call readers' attention to A & M Ornamentos, a family-owned vestment operation located in Spain.  Their custom-made chasubles are beautiful, of select fa…

Antique Vestments of the Byzantine Tradition

Antique Vestments of the Byzantine Tradition When considering vestments, we spend most of our time here on LAJ focusing on the vestments of the Latin rite -- and there is certainly plenty to focus on. But it crossed my mind of late how rarely we see antique vestments of the Eastern tradition -- specifically the Byzant…

A Cimabue Inspired Crucifix from Hape Sculpture in Italy

A Cimabue Inspired Crucifix from Hape Sculpture in Italy H ape Sculpture  located in Val Gardena in the north of Italy, is one of the many traditional woodcarvers located in that region, specializing in traditionally, hand-crafted sculptural works, including beautiful crucifixes in the Italian tradition, such as the work which I wi…

Basilica of St. Lawrence is a Gustavino Masterpiece

Basilica of St. Lawrence is a Gustavino Masterpiece One of my favorite churches in the American South is the Basilica of St. Lawrence, located in the mountain town of Asheville in North Carolina.  The basilica is a beacon of beauty and immense creativity, one of the most visited places in Asheville.

A Sicilian Missal Cover from the 1500's

A Sicilian Missal Cover from the 1500's What you are seeing is a beautiful specimen of a silver missal cover dated to the 1500's that was created in the workshops of Sicily. The design of this cover includes beautifully etched floriated designs, done in a kind of latticework that allows the underlying coloure…

The Lost Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople

The Lost Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople One of the most noteworthy of the lost churches of Constantinople is the Church of the Holy Apostles.  In this particular instance, the fate of the Holy Apostles had less to do with the Ottoman conquest of the city, and instead suffered a similar fate to that of the old Con…

The Nuestra Señora de la Cristiandad Pilgrimage in Argentina (Peregrinación a Luján)

The Nuestra Señora de la Cristiandad Pilgrimage in Argentina (Peregrinación a Luján) Liturgical arts are flourishing everywhere and Argentina, a Catholic land, is no exception. Some readers have expressed interest in the annual Nuestra Señora de la Cristiandad  (Our Lady of Christendom) pilgrimage in South America. This is the largest annual event of Traditi…

The New Altar of the Sacred Heart at the Oxford Oratory

The New Altar of the Sacred Heart at the Oxford Oratory The following submission was kindly sent in to LAJ by the good fathers of the Oxford Oratory, detailing some of the ongoing architectural restorations and beautifications that are taking place there. In this particular instance, they detail their new altar, done in an Italo…

A Rare Account of Mass in the Sistine Chapel

A Rare Account of Mass in the Sistine Chapel Below is an article taken from a radio broadcast by Helen Coghill S. Haskin, an American radio lecturer in the 1930s best remembered for her soft, contralto voice. I believe she was a member of the Episcopal Church. The account is taken from  The Crusader's Almanac , prin…

The Fifteenth Century Mitre made by Indigenous Mexicans and Gifted to the Pope and St. Charles Borromeo

The Fifteenth Century Mitre made by Indigenous Mexicans and Gifted to the Pope and St. Charles Borromeo We have a tendency to think about European art being brought in the direction of the New World -- and it certainly was -- but we don't a often consider that sometimes it also came back from the New World to the Old. That is certainly the case with the "Mitra di Col…

A Little Light from the East: St. Volodymyr's in Kiev

A Little Light from the East: St. Volodymyr's in Kiev Continuing on with some of our considerations of some Eastern churches that can help in illuminating the common inheritance that is to be found between the Christian East and West, we turn our attention today to St. Volodymyr's Cathedral located in Kyiv, Ukraine -- the …

Pentecost Vestments for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone

Pentecost Vestments for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone Altarworthy, a vestment maker based out of the United States, recently published news on social media  about a set of vestments made for Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, the archbishop of San Francisco, for the occasion of the solemnity of Pentecost on May 19, 2024 in the Ca…

Restoration of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hanover, Pennsylvania by Canning Liturgical Arts

Restoration of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Hanover, Pennsylvania by Canning Liturgical Arts One of the most historic churches in America is the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus  (in Conewago Township, Pennsylvania, Diocese of Harrisburg). Declared a minor basilica in 1962, this former Jesuit church built in Federal-style architecture is said to be the oldest s…

A Eucharistic Canopy from the Mid-Nineteenth Century

A Eucharistic Canopy from the Mid-Nineteenth Century The use of canopies in a Catholic ceremonial context is itself linked to the Judeo-Christian imperative to cover over (or to use Old Testament terminology, to "tent") that which is considered symbolically important. Traditionally altars were required to be covered…

Before and After: San Joselito Chapel in Norwalk, Connecticut

Before and After: San Joselito Chapel in Norwalk, Connecticut Many of our "Before and After" speak quite well for themselves, and today's example coming from Canning Liturgical Arts  is certainly no exception -- in fact, it might be an iconic example. Speaking of such, over the years we have commented on how colour and de…

The 'New Springtime'? -- Green Shoots of Life In the Churches, But Not of the Sort Predicted (Or: Some Abandoned Churches of Italy)

The 'New Springtime'? -- Green Shoots of Life In the Churches, But Not of the Sort Predicted (Or: Some Abandoned Churches of Italy) There is something both sad and poignant about abandoned churches. While churchmen in the 1960's and 1970's confidently predicted (in retrospect, naively so) a "new springtime for the Church" resulting from modernizations, in reality what we have seen take…

Michaelmas Day Window at St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California

Michaelmas Day Window at St. Michael's Abbey in Silverado, California Many thanks to G Photography and Films for the wonderful images of the annual celebration of Michaelmas Day at St. Michael's Abbey in Orange County, California. The new abbey church was designed by the French architect Jean-Louis Pagès, who drew his inspiration from a 1…

Further Examples of Coverings for Liturgical Books

Further Examples of Coverings for Liturgical Books We have spoken here before of the lost art of the liturgical book coverings  and today I am pleased to be able to present a few more examples, all taken from the diocese of Savona in Liguria. Liturgical book coverings function much in the way antependia do insofar as they &#…

Dominican Rite Altar Cards

Dominican Rite Altar Cards Recently I was privileged to attend Mass at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C. It was good news to hear the ancient Dominican Rite is flourishing and continues to make a comeback on this side of the pond. I was further impressed to see these very interesting…

Before and After: Ss. Cyril and Methodius in East Helena, Montana

Before and After: Ss. Cyril and Methodius in East Helena, Montana [Steve Baker, the principal architect at  Baker Architects LLC  provided LAJ with the following guest article featuring a renovation project their firm completed in the Autumn of 2023 at Saints Cyril and Methodius Catholic Church located in East Helena, Montana.]

A Brief History of Liturgical Colours

A Brief History of Liturgical Colours To understand the evolution of liturgical colours, one first has to understand some basics about the evolution of sacred vestments themselves. Vestments originate from Roman civil dress and in paleochristian times this was simply attached to the notion of reserving one's…

The Ottoman Cope of the Basilica of Gandino

The Ottoman Cope of the Basilica of Gandino On February 21, 2021, our friend and colleague Lucas Viar wrote an article on the sixteenth century  Condestable cope  -- a vestment in the possession of Burgos Cathedral in Spain and a very good example of the use of a Moorish, Islamic-influenced textile within vestment desi…

A Florentine Cope From the Sixteenth Century

A Florentine Cope From the Sixteenth Century With the great feast of Pentecost now upon us, what better time to show this elegant, ornamental red cope. This particular cope is Florentine in manufacture and is dated to the sixteenth century; specifically the last quarter of the sixteenth century, sitting somewhere betw…

The Cappa Parva of Mons. Petrus Canisius Jean van Lierde: Prefect of the Papal Sacristy

The Cappa Parva of Mons. Petrus Canisius Jean van Lierde: Prefect of the Papal Sacristy In old photos of papal liturgies the figure of the Dutch Augustinian Monsignor Pietro C. van Lierde, OSA (1907-1995) stands out. He is often seen, vested in black and holding a tall lit candle. Bishop van Lierde was an Augustinian friar ordained in 1931, a member of the Ord…

A Processional Cross from the Year 1545

A Processional Cross from the Year 1545 Today I thought we'd take a quick look at a processional cross that was made in the year 1545. This particular cross is gilded in silver and includes decoration on both the front and back sides. On the front side we find a typical, traditional crucifixion setting, with …

The Curious Zucchetto of Pope Pius VI

The Curious Zucchetto of Pope Pius VI Most everyone has seen a zucchetto (whether they know it or not). It is the skullcap worn by popes and prelates, as well as by some other clerics, monastics and mendicants. The official name for this item of vesture is actually a "pileolus." The custom of wearing o…

A New Marian Crown Crafted in Malta

A New Marian Crown Crafted in Malta With today being the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, we'd like to share today a new ornamental crown that has been designed for the same by the Maltese artist, Gabriel Farrugia. First, some background about the artist.

The Clementine Chapel of the Vatican Basilica (La Clementina)

The Clementine Chapel of the Vatican Basilica (La Clementina) One of my favorite places to visit in the Christian world is the Clementine Chapel of the Vatican Basilica. Here visitors are immersed in the gilded Baroque splendor of the basement crypt of St. Peter's Basilica, where the Blessed Apostle Peter is buried. This chapel is…

The Papal Court: Prince Assistants to the Papal Throne (Principe Assistente al Soglio Pontificio)

The Papal Court: Prince Assistants to the Papal Throne (Principe Assistente al Soglio Pontificio) The man in the impressive uniform here is Principe Aspreno II Colonna (1916-1987), Prince of Paliano (a town east of Rome) and First Prince Assistant to the Papal Throne. He was the last of two Princes who held the hereditary role of "Prince Assistant to the Papal Thro…

The Reredos of St Joseph's Church, Stanley, Durham

The Reredos of St Joseph's Church, Stanley, Durham Few things can be more beautiful than a well crafted, carved wooden reredos, especially in the gothic style and the reredos of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Stanley in the United Kingdom is certainly no exception to this.  While the rest of the church is fairly typica…

The Sixteenth Century Marian Cope of Joan de Terès, Archbishop of Tarragona, Spain

The Sixteenth Century Marian Cope of  Joan de Terès, Archbishop of Tarragona, Spain The month of May is the month of Mary, and what better time to share this splendid cope, dated to the period of 1587-1603. We know that dating in part because we know for whom it was commissioned: Joan de Terès, Archbishop of Tarragona, Spain.  The overall shape of the cope …

Santa Maria Reina de la Familia by Estudio Urbano (Cayalá, Guatemala)

Santa Maria Reina de la Familia by Estudio Urbano (Cayalá, Guatemala) In 2022 this beautiful new church of Santa María Reina de la Familia (Holy Mary Queen of the Family) was dedicated in Ciudad Cayalá, a new urban quarter of Guatemala. It was 14 years in the making from the first sketch in 2008 to the final completion. Needless to say, the d…

Apparelled Amice from Solemnis in Poland

Apparelled Amice from Solemnis in Poland Apparel on an amice or alb is a rare sight in most parts of the world. It brings to mind the vestments of the Middle-Ages, still seen today in some places such as England, Spain or Australia. For many Catholics it is most commonly seen in the Anglican Ordinariate, with infl…

The Corporal of the Rite of Lyon

The Corporal of the Rite of Lyon The Archdiocese of Lyon, the Prima Sedes Galliarum , has a very ancient particular liturgy, the Rite of Lyon ( Rite Lyonnais ). This immemorial rite, a variant of the Roman Rite, dates from around the Carolingian period (8th-9th century). It comes in direct line from Rome. Thi…

The Remains of the Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum

The Remains of the Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua in the Roman Forum Since we spent some time showing you the old basilica of "Snnta Maria Nova" (now known as Santa Francesca Romana), we may as well show you the other side of that coin (so to speak): Santa Maria Antiqua -- or "Old St. Mary's" as we would tend to say i…

The Roman Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana (Santa Maria Nova)

The Roman Basilica of Santa Francesca Romana (Santa Maria Nova) The Basilica of Santa Francesa Romana is not a Roman basilica one typically hears of and yet it sits in one of the most prominent and well-visited tourist attractions in all of Rome: the Roman Forum.  Originally, in the eighth century, another oratory had been established on…

The “San Filippo Neri” Chasuble by Sacra Domus Aurea

The “San Filippo Neri” Chasuble by Sacra Domus Aurea S acra Domus Aurea has made a name for itself as a first-rate designer and tailor of bespoke liturgical vestments. The owner is Anamaria who has grown her business over the years and now her unique vestment creations can be seen everywhere. In these images we can see an examp…

National Shrine of Our Lady of Victory (Diocese of Buffalo, New York)

National Shrine of Our Lady of Victory (Diocese of Buffalo, New York) Throughout the world, wherever the cross of Christ has been planted, the wellspring of beautiful churches follows. This has been seen in virtually every corner of the world, giving rise to other-worldly beauty that nourishes the roots of faith and serves to give glory to Go…

Anatomy of a Maltese Altar

Anatomy of a Maltese Altar Malta is a small island nation located in the Mediterranean just south of Sicily, but what it lacks in goegraphic size, it more than makes up for in the magnanimity of its liturgical art -- specifically baroque liturgical art.  Malta has seen many of the traditions of the Ch…

The Cartegloria of S. Ignazio from the Altar of St. Ignatius in the Gesu, Rome

The Cartegloria of S. Ignazio from the Altar of St. Ignatius in the Gesu, Rome The Gesu (or more properly the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus) in Rome is well enough known to many of our readers. It is the mother church of the Jesuits in Rome and one of the foremost examples of a baroque church in the Eternal City. One of the most famous altars found…

Historical Re-Creation of a Jesuit Chapel in the Czech Republic

Historical Re-Creation of a Jesuit Chapel in the Czech Republic Petr Hofman, a reader based in the former Czechoslovakia, sent LAJ some news about the historical re-creation of the altar of an old Jesuit chapel that has been created as part of an event that takes place in the Czech Republic that celebrates the rich ecclesiastical histor…