The Spanish Cut Chasuble

The Spanish Cut Chasuble After living many years in Rome and being accustomed to seeing differing versions of the Roman style chasuble, it is always interesting to see the slim Spanish versions.  This example is from the baroque city of Zarazoga in northeast Spain, probably from around the 1920s.  …

Lampada Over the Centuries - Some Examples

Lampada Over the Centuries - Some Examples One of the elements found within churches that are at one at the same time both readily noticed and at the same time readily ignored are "lampada" -- or, to sound slightly less exotic, lamps.  That might sound like a contradiction of course; how can something be b…

The St. Louis Cathedral: Monumental Display of Mosaics (Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri)

The St. Louis Cathedral: Monumental Display of Mosaics (Archdiocese of St. Louis, Missouri) In 1992 my mother brought me to see the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis , dedicated to the victorious Christ and St. Louis IX, King of France, patron saint of the city.  It was an unforgettable experience.  Since that visit this mighty fortress has captured my imagination and…

Envisioning Old St. Peter's: The Interior from the Time of Constantine through the Renaissance

Envisioning Old St. Peter's: The Interior from the Time of Constantine through the Renaissance In a previous article we considered what the exterior of Old St. Peter's was like and today we will turn our attention to the interior of the same.  In many regards, to envision the interior of the old Constantinian basilica, just as with the exterior, we should first b…

Spanish Liturgical Tradition of the "Scruple" Spoon

Spanish Liturgical Tradition of the "Scruple" Spoon I took these photos in a sacristy in Madrid, Spain staffed by the Institute of Christ the King.  The spoon (buscar) caught my eye, an old Spanish custom that was used to place the drop of water in the chalice during the Offertory.  In English the spoon is called a "scr…

Minor Roman Basilicas: San Silvestro in Capite

Minor Roman Basilicas: San Silvestro in Capite For pilgrims of Rome, the main churches one sets out to see are usually fairly obvious, with St. Peter's reigning topmost of course, followed by the other major basilicas like St. Paul's, St. Mary Major and the Lateran archbasilica. Even amongst the minor basilicas,…

Gold Mitre (Mitra Auphrygiata) of Pope St. Pius V

Gold Mitre (Mitra Auphrygiata) of Pope St. Pius V A few years ago I was privileged to visit the truly impressive Vatican Splendors exhibit in California.  Looking back at the images, I thought it opportune to share these photos of the gold cloth miter of Pius V that dates from the year 1566.  The orphreyed miter (in Latin,…

Minor Roman Churches: San Cesareo de Appia

Minor Roman Churches: San Cesareo de Appia The Roman church San Cesareo de Appia (also known as San Cesario in Palatio) is -- as you might have guessed already -- located on the ancient Appian Way (Via Appia) on the site of what was around the second or third century, originally a Roman bath.  The patron saint of th…

Ordination and First Mass of Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong

Ordination and First Mass of Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen of Hong Kong has shared a few precious photos of his Ordination and First Mass on social media.  Readers will recognize the Servant of God Fr. Carlo Braga, SDB in the images (known as "the Little Don Bosco of China").  Cardinal Zen was born in …

The Empress Helena and the Finding of the True Cross

The Empress Helena and the Finding of the True Cross September 14th marks the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and with that it seemed like a good day to give some consideration to St. Helena, Empress and mother of Constantine, as well as to the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.  The former because it i…

The Roman Style Cotta Griccia

The Roman Style Cotta Griccia A handful of readers have reached out to ask if we can provide crisp images of the wonderful cotta griccia alla Romana .  Following are several photos I took in Rome that help reveal the different patterns evidenced on the same cotta.  It is a fascinating sight to behold.  I …

Lost Roman Customs: The Illuminated Cross in St. Peter's on Holy Thursday and Good Friday

Lost Roman Customs: The Illuminated Cross in St. Peter's on Holy Thursday and Good Friday One of the lost customs of Holy Week in the Vatican was the custom of illuminating a grand cross within St. Peter's Basilica.  This particular custom was captured in an etching which was done by Giovanni Battista Piranesi in the 18th century.  As you will see in this det…

Liturgical Notes on the Traditional Requirement for Green Sanctuary Carpeting on Solemn Occasions

Liturgical Notes on the Traditional Requirement for Green Sanctuary Carpeting on Solemn Occasions Until the latter half of the twentieth century, Rome was generally known for its conservatism -- which is to say, its preservation of its own rich tradition and history. In many instances, these customs and traditions came to be lost in many places, but were held onto in Ro…

Book Review: Ministers of Christ - Recovering the Roles of Clergy and Laity in an Age of Confusion

Book Review: Ministers of Christ - Recovering the Roles of Clergy and Laity in an Age of Confusion Dr. Peter Kwasniewski has written yet another outstanding book entitled Ministers of Christ (Crisis Publications, 2021).  This solid book comes highly recommended and in my opinion should be required reading in every minor and major seminary to help address the storm cloud …

The Paleochristian Art of the Roman Catacombs

The Paleochristian Art of the Roman Catacombs Rome is famously known for its catacombs and in point of fact there are some forty catacombs to be found around the Eternal City. These catacombs are all underground and could be easily missed by pilgrims as it requires venturing "outside the walls" -- for reason …

Cathedral Liturgy in Savannah, Georgia

Cathedral Liturgy in Savannah, Georgia The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist in Savannah, Georgia is the mother church of the Diocese of Savannah.  It is also an iconic symbol of the French Gothic in the American South.  Recently I was privileged to visit here for Sunday Mass.  The grandeur of the ornate interio…

Ornamental, Polychrome Marble Altars of the 17th and 18th Centuries

Ornamental, Polychrome Marble Altars of the 17th and 18th Centuries In the modern era we've become accustomed to seeing altars that are rather monochromatic in form -- perhaps accented by gold, but otherwise usually found in white, grey or, wood painted white or stained. It would be easy to assume this is the only form altars take  Howe…

From the Vatican Basilica: Alb of Blessed Pius IX

From the Vatican Basilica: Alb of Blessed Pius IX This antique alb (camice) of Pope Pius IX caught my attention in the Treasury Museum of St. Peter's Basilica.  I naturally thought readers might like to see it and so here are a few images.  It probably dates from sometime around the 1870s or even before.  The cuffs are…

The Spanish Missions in California: Mission San Luis Rey de Francia

The Spanish Missions in California: Mission San Luis Rey de Francia The Spanish Missions in present-day California are a subject of interest to many though for many outside of that region of the world it is more familiar in name that anything more tangible. By way of background, the Spanish missions were comprised of twenty one outposts -- …