The Restoration of the Reed

Within the traditional, pre-1955 Holy Week rites of the Easter Vigil is an item called the reed, or triple candle (tricereo) -- we have detailed this item here in length so if you are looking for more background, please read that article. Surely this is an item long gone and no longer attainable? Well, not quite. As the saying goes, where there's a will, there's a way -- or put another way, where there are liturgical craftsmen and artisans available, nothing is impossible or out of reach.

An LAJ reader communicated to us about a project they undertook with liturgical metalworker, Louise Pezzi, utilizing some of the information provided in our aforementioned article on the reed.  The timeline of the story goes as follows:
After the Easter Vigil in 2019, our local blacksmith, Louise Pezzi, who was in attendance, inquired about the contraption we used for the reed for the triple candle.  The device we had was homemade piece of threaded rod, topped by a wire basket to hold the candles.  She looked at this for a moment and declared in her typical fashion: "We can do better!"  I directed her to the LAJ article written some time back about the subject, and the many forms the reed has taken in many places.

In the end, we decided that the arrangement of the candles should be in a triangular shape, more in keeping with the rubrics, and also better displays all 3 candles distinctly.  The candle holder is a separate piece from the reed as can be seen in some of the closeups.  The floral arrangement is held in place by a wire basket.  The reed itself is modeled on an actual reed species from the middle east, and was made using a custom die Louise made in her shop.

We used it for the first time this year at the Vigil, under the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic, following the Memoriale Rituum ceremonial for a priest and 4 servers.  Hopefully next year we will be able to use the full ceremonial.
Here were the fruits of their respective labours:

The lesson in all of this is quite simple: if you want it, the liturgical craftsmanship exists; you just have to seek it out. Do so and support not only liturgical artists but also the liturgical tradition.

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