Lenten Veils Discovered in Church Attic and Restored

We have spoken here before on the subject of Lenten Veils (Fastentuch) but to re-cap, a Lenten veil is a large veil that is hung up before an altar or its reredos during Lent. Veils such as these first arose in the Middle Ages and they were most commonly made of white linen, frequently including symbols and images of the Passion upon them -- whether painted or embroidered. The idea behind these veils is reasonably self-explanatory at its most fundamental level. Namely, just as one fasts and abstains from various foods during this period of the liturgical year, just as flowers do not adorn the altars at this time, so too is the ornamental beauty of the altar and/or reredos itself also "fasted" from.

In the year 2008, the following veils were discovered in the attic of the parish church of Schönau an der.Brend, and have been dated to the late 18th or early 19th century.  As you can well imagine, having been so stored, they were in desperate need of restoration and, through the generosity of donors, these were completed and the veils were once again put into use in the parish in the year 2018.

Veil for the high altar -- you will note the hole that allows visibility of the tabernacle still. 
The veil which covers one of the side altars includes images of the Deposition and Virgin of Sorrows
The other side altar veil includes an image of Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
Here is a look at the entire sanctuary with all the veils in place:

One might be tempted to think that veils that are adorned with figurative images such as these don't provide much in the way of "visual fast" but when the veils are removed you can see just how much beauty has been concealed by them (and one can well imagine the impact that would be had when, after so many weeks of concealment, these altars were finally revealed on Holy Saturday).

Of course, the other angle on this is that the veils not only conceal, they also reveal. How so? By presenting the faithful with images and symbols that are appropriate to this time of the liturgical year. 

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