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…