The Lutrin (or Lectern)

The Lutrin (or Lectern) In contemporary English usage, if you speak of a church "lectern" what typically comes to mind for many is a rather simple podium like structure, but if you look at the collegiate, monastic and cathedral churches of England, France and Italy (for example) you will…

Sacristy Tips: "Every Jot and Tittle" (Or On the Colour of Missal Ribbons and Liturgical Time)

Sacristy Tips: "Every Jot and Tittle" (Or On the Colour of Missal Ribbons and Liturgical Time) One of the smaller details that many may not have noticed about altar missals are that the ribbon markers that are included within them are frequently coloured to the match the colours of the liturgical season or day. Whether it's the smaller Requiem Mass missal with it…

Two Contemporary Hand Illuminated Liturgical Books from the English Benedictines

Two Contemporary Hand Illuminated Liturgical Books from the English Benedictines Ever since the invention of Gutenberg's printing press in the mid fifteenth century, hand illuminated books have become more and more rare. While medieval manuscripts are those which most of us find ourselves thinking about when considering such books, there are some mo…

Two Embroidered Mitres by the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France

Two Embroidered Mitres by the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France As part of our final considerations of the embroidery work of the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France, I'd like to turn our readers considerations toward some of the mitres they produced.  These mitres are characterized by a great depth and richness of colour and fall within…

Further Embroidery of the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France: The Chasuble of L'Arbre Franciscain

Further Embroidery of the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France: The Chasuble of L'Arbre Franciscain Continuing on with some of our considerations of the vestment work of the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France, I thought to include these in our previous article, but to my mind these are not examples of "Other Modern."  This particular vestment set is known as the L&#…

Other Modern Work of the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France

Other Modern Work of the Poor Clares of Mazamet, France The Poor Clares of Mazamet, France, are perhaps best known for a chasuble they embroidered for Pope Pius XI (one which is frequently mistook for a gothic chasuble because of the orphrey design upon it). However these good sisters produced much more than this chasuble alone.…

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily

The Metropolitan Cathedral of Monreale, Sicily The Duomo of Monreale is located in Palermo, Sicily and is surely one of the most striking examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture in existence. It was built under the ausipces of the Normans in the latter half of the twelfth century. (And, perhaps not well known, is that …

An Altar of the Dead from 1695

An Altar of the Dead from 1695 As a followup to yesterday's post, as well as to our post on ossuary chapels, I recently came across the following "Altare dei Morti" -- an altar of the dead. It is, yet again, a reminder that memento mori are a perfectly natural and traditional aspect of Cath…

Some Italian Antependia from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

Some Italian Antependia from the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries Today I wanted to share some Italian antependia dated to the period of 1650-1729. The first is dated to the first quarter of the 18th century. This particular frontal is characterized by its exquisitely subtle colourings which includes a central medallion of St. Christopher…

St. François de Laval and the Grand Séminaire of Quebec, Canada

St. François de Laval and the Grand Séminaire of Quebec, Canada Speaking at a dinner in his honour at the Windsor Hotel in Montréal in 1881, the writer Samuel L. Clemens, better known to the world as Mark Twain, famously commented that "this is the first time I was ever in a city where you couldn't throw a brick without breakin…

The Golden Chamber of St. Ursula's Basilica in Cologne

The Golden Chamber of St. Ursula's Basilica in Cologne The Basilica of St. Ursula (Sankt Ursula) in Cologne, Germany is built over an old Roman cemetery where many virgins were said to have been buried, and within the basilica is the "Goldene Kammer" (Golden Chamber), an impressive reliquary and ossuary chapel where t…

A Brief Consideration On the Diverse Shapes of Chasubles

A Brief Consideration On the Diverse Shapes of Chasubles By way of quick reflection, anyone who has followed liturgical art particularly since the advent of the twentieth century Liturgical Movement will know that one of the fixations that tends to plague some within the English speaking world is the matter of chasuble shapes. Th…

Summorum Pontificum and the Flourishing of the Liturgical Arts

Summorum Pontificum and the Flourishing of the Liturgical Arts Pope Benedict's motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum,  has mainly been thought of in terms of the benefits that this legal epiphany provided for these liturgical rites and how it positively impacted communities and individual Catholics attached to the same. While this is pe…

Tela Aurea: A Cloth of Gold Set from the First Half of the Eighteenth Century

Tela Aurea: A Cloth of Gold Set from the First Half of the Eighteenth Century Many of our readers will have heard tell of "cloth of gold" ( tela aurea ) vestments but may not have ever had the opportunity to see them. Cloth of gold is essentially a fabric made of spun gold that has been wrapped around another textile at its core. Its main use…

St. John Henry (Cardinal) Newman on Ecclesiastical Ceremonies

St. John Henry (Cardinal) Newman on Ecclesiastical Ceremonies It had been somewhat fashionable in the later half of the twentieth century to diminish the importance of the Church's ceremonial life. Indeed, it almost become a badge of honour as an early form of virtue-signalling to demonstrate one's more "mature" fait…

Sixteenth Century Spanish Vestments from Granada Cathedral

Sixteenth Century Spanish Vestments from Granada Cathedral The Cathedral of the Incarnation in Granada (or what is fully known as the Catedral de Granada, Santa Iglesia Metropolitana de la Encarnacion ) located in the Andalusian region of Spain, has shared an impressive display of their ornaments coming from the 16th century. For th…

The Ceremonial Vesting of a Prelate in East and West

The Ceremonial Vesting of a Prelate in East and West One of the aspects of the liturgical tradition of the usus antiquior that strikes many new observers to the traditional rites are the ceremonies that accompany the vesting of a prelate. While these are sometimes done within the privacy of the sacristy or  separate chapel, o…

Floriated French Vestments of the Seventeenth Century

Floriated French Vestments of the Seventeenth Century When many contemplate French vestments they are typically limiting their vision to one of two style families. The first are the vestments of the later half of the 19th and early 20th century -- vestments made of silks and velvets, often with a "Parisian" shaped cr…

The Bejewelled Roman Catacomb Saints of Germany, Austria and Switzerland

The Bejewelled Roman Catacomb Saints of Germany, Austria and Switzerland Many will be familiar with the usual presentation of relics that are found in so many of our churches. They generally come in the form of a small piece of bone (or otherwise) and these in turn are frequently displayed in ostensory-like shaped reliquaries, or sometimes in th…

Notes on the Archeology, Relics and Early Roman Christian Devotion to Ss. Peter and Paul

Notes on the Archeology, Relics and Early Roman Christian Devotion to Ss. Peter and Paul It is well enough known that excavations undertaken under St. Peter's Basilica in the mid 20th century revealed the tomb and relics of St. Peter himself, just where tradition proclaimed them to be. It may be less known that a similar process was undertaken in relation t…

The Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna - Including Some Rare Views of the Previous Baroque High Altar

The Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna - Including Some Rare Views of the Previous Baroque High Altar Recently, our friend and colleague, Nicola de Grandi, a native son of Milan, published some excellent photos of a trip he took to San Vitale in Ravenna -- one of the most stunning extant examples of Italo-Byzantine architecture in existence. The church dates to the sixth ce…

Giovan Domenico Vinaccia and the Reliquaries of the Cappella Ravaschieri in Naples

Giovan Domenico Vinaccia and the Reliquaries of the Cappella Ravaschieri in Naples The Cappella Ravaschieri situated in the church of Gesù Nuovo in Naples includes an extremely impressive display of relics and reliquaries -- reminiscent, at first glance, to an ossuary chapel. The relics are contained in the lispanotheca designed by Giovan Domenico Vinacci…

In Memoriam: Architect Thomas Gordon Smith

In Memoriam: Architect Thomas Gordon Smith There are a handful of names in the domain of contemporary architecture that have come to be well known for their classical and traditional approaches to ecclesiastical architecture. One of those names, regrettably for all of us, recently died and his name will no doubt be …

Repositorium Sanctae Eucharistiae - Historical Modes of Eucharistic Reservation: The Hanging Pyx

Repositorium Sanctae Eucharistiae - Historical Modes of Eucharistic Reservation: The Hanging Pyx Continuing on with our considerations of historical modes of reserving the Eucharist, in a previous artcile we considered the sacrament tower  and today we turn our attention to the hanging pyx. The hanging pyx is a suspended form of tabernacle for the Blessed Sacrament. Arc…

Private Chapels: A Family Chapel in Italy

Private Chapels: A Family Chapel in Italy The following text was written by a friend of mine in Italy many years ago (a member of the family in question) and, given the focus on the broad spectrum of the liturgical arts found within this chapel as well as our readers interests in private chapels more generally, it …

Liturgical Arts in North Dakota (Diocese of Bismarck)

Liturgical Arts in North Dakota (Diocese of Bismarck)  Christian liturgy is rightly seen as possessing a celebratory and artistic character.  For this reason it is a real treat to see beauty returning to the rites, even in small pockets of the world in rural locations.  It was a privilege to visit this little country parish for…

Fresco of the Nativity of Mary by Manuel Farrugia for the Senglease Basilica

Fresco of the Nativity of Mary by Manuel Farrugia for the Senglease Basilica The work of the Maltese artist, Manuel Farrugia, is something we have featured here before, beginning with his  Ecstasy of St. Teresa  and more recently The Glory of St. Dominic .  Today we are pleased to be able to present another project which he has worked on for the Basili…

A Maundy Thursday Chasuble by the Dominican Sisters of Galway

A Maundy Thursday Chasuble by the Dominican Sisters of Galway The following chasuble was embroidered by the Dominican Sisters located in Galway, Ireland, however beyond that basic detail I have very little additional information -- so our readers will perhaps permit me to speculate on it a bit. Much in the style and design of the chas…

Repositorium Sanctae Eucharistiae - Historical Modes of Eucharistic Reservation: The Sacrament Tower

Repositorium Sanctae Eucharistiae - Historical Modes of Eucharistic Reservation: The Sacrament Tower Throughout the course of history there has been more than one method of reserving the Eucharist. In our own time we are especially familiar with the model of a metal or stone tabernacle being integrated onto an altar or altar like structure -- whether a central high altar, …

The Roman Empire and the Early Roman Martyrs

The Roman Empire and the Early Roman Martyrs At this time of the year I find my mind turns toward the Roman martyrs. This is no doubt for reason of anticipation of the great feast of Ss. Peter and Paul --  both of whom were martyred in Rome of course. In view of this, I  thought it might be worthwhile to share some br…

Elements of the Byzantine Holy Table (Altar)

Elements of the Byzantine Holy Table (Altar) While our primary focus here at LAJ is the Latin rite, it is certainly of value and interest to round out some of our considerations with the Eastern lung of the Church and today I wanted to share with our readers some considerations of the altar -- or what they call the &q…

The Early Eighteenth Century Abbatial Church of St. Maurice in Ebermunster, France

The Early Eighteenth Century Abbatial Church of St. Maurice in Ebermunster, France L'Eglise St. Maurice is the former abbey church of the Benedictines of Ebermunster and while the church, like the name of the village itself, has a distinctly Austrio-Germanic tone to it, it is actually located in France.  This influence is perhaps made all the more und…

Exhibition Features the Traditional Choir Dress of a Cathedral-Basilica's Founding Bishop

Exhibition Features the Traditional Choir Dress of a Cathedral-Basilica's Founding Bishop We were pleased to be sent the following photos from the curator of an exhibition taking place at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary's in Covington, Kentucky. That basilica recently dedicated additions to their facade and as part of their celebrations they established a…

Hand Illuminated Altar Cards by Pelican Printery House

Hand Illuminated Altar Cards by Pelican Printery House Elizabeth Lemme of Pelican Printery House  was recently commissioned by one of the new priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter to create a customized set of hand-illuminated altar cards for him -- inclusive of a request to put the cards into an ordering of his choosi…

The Corpus Christi Canopy Preserved and Handed Down

The Corpus Christi Canopy Preserved and Handed Down My home parish of Saint Agnes in Saint Paul, Minnesota has done a superb job over the years preserving the custom of a beautiful annual Corpus Christi procession.  This is an event that serious Catholics cherish, something they look forward to each year, something their chi…

Neopolitan Pentecost Antependium from 1731

Neopolitan Pentecost Antependium from 1731 If you think you've seen metallic antependia before, you may want to take a second look at this stunning example that was gifted by the Kingdon of Naples to the Custodia of the Holy Land in 1731. This Neopolitan frontal is set in gold and silver and includes a level of …

The Ongoing Revival of Liturgical Embroidery at Sacra Domus Aurea

The Ongoing Revival of Liturgical Embroidery at Sacra Domus Aurea The atelier of Sacra Domus Aurea has been quite busy in recent months with a number of new additions to their collection of embroidered works  -- works that frequently utilize a nice mixture of historical as well as original design work -- so it seems like a good time to cat…

The Rite of the Blessing of the Sword from the Roman Pontifical

The Rite of the Blessing of the Sword from the Roman Pontifical In the Catholic tradition the sword holds great lyrical symbolism in the Christian imagination.  Chesterton says of soldiers: "A real soldier does not fight because he has something that he hates in front of him.  He fights because he has something that he loves behind…