Vestments of Cardinal Prospero Lorenzo Lambertini (Pope Benedict XIV)

Continuing on with our considerations of some of the liturgical articles of historical cardinals, we turn today to Cardinal Prospero Lambertini (1675-1758) who would go on to become Pope Benedict XIV. As a poper, Lambertini became, as Fr. George Rutler would say, A Faithful Pope of the Enlightenment. Lambertini was a man who was very great promoter of the baroque arts and was one actively interested in matters liturgical, being liturgically very conservative, reversing some liturgical reforms done prior to his time as pope and opposing attempts to allow anthropology to influence the liturgical rites. (In all these regards he presents an interesting example for our study today as the Church grapples with the questions of the post-conciliar liturgical reforms, the anthropomorphic emphasis of modern liturgical thought and practice, but that is perhaps another article for another day).

Today we are interested in some of the vestments he wore in his time as a cardinal -- the dignity of which he was elevated to in 1728, being given the important title church of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome, and being made the Archbishop of Bologna in 1731. It is Bologna where we can find these vestments today and they are models of some of the highest liturgical craftsmanship and embroidery of the period. showing the characteristic signs of the kind of detailed embroidery that was seen particularly in the later 17th and first half of the 18th century. 

Lambertini as Cardinal

The vestments in question are all quite similar -- though not identical if you look at the details -- and include Lambertini's stemma. The quality of the embroidery is exceptional. No doubt these were commissioned at once for the occasion of his elevation as a cardinal of the Roman church. 

The white chasuble and set is, comparatively, the most distinctive design of the four chasubles. 

The maniples:

It bears a closer look at the lace braid galloons that were used for the ends of the maniples and stoles. We are more accustomed in our time to seeing tasseled fringes used in this capacity, but this will show our readers some of the variety that can be found in the history of vestment design as well as the beautiful quality of the lace braid galloons of the period -- something to aspire to again today perhaps. 

The stoles:

The chalice veils also include the same type of lace braid trims around their edges. This is, in fact, a design feature that many may be unfamiliar with today as it became more common in the later 18th and 19th century to not fringe the edges of chalice veils (not to mention copes, dalmatics and chasubles), but at one time ornamental fringes could be found on most everything from chalice veils to most of the other pieces of a vestment set (burse excluded, though these were sometimes tasselled on the corners.)

Finally, the burses:

A really remarkable series of vestments that befit the dignity of their purpose and serving the embellish the liturgical rites with noble beauty -- and a pope worthy of our interest today.

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