What If the Liturgical Movement Had Stayed On Track?

What If the Liturgical Movement Had Stayed On Track? What might have been? It's a question that comes up in almost every sphere of life and certainly this is no less the case with regard to the liturgical life of the Latin rite Church. In analyzing the Liturgical Movement I've often noted that there were some very goo…

Before and After: The Arrangement of the Papal Throne and Choir in Papal Masses Before and After the 1970's

Before and After: The Arrangement of the Papal Throne and Choir in Papal Masses Before and After the 1970's We live in a curious time. Never before have there been so many people who can witnesses papal liturgical events precisely because of the advent of the wide broadcasting of these events through televsion, the internet and so on. Because of that, when we watch a Papal Mass o…

A Ciborium of the Seventeenth Century Style

A Ciborium of the Seventeenth Century Style The ciboria of the antique and medieval periods tend to shorter and made up angular geometry; rectangular, square, octagonal and so on.  They tend to be very sober in their form as well as their decoration. As we move into the renaissance period and thereafter, no doubt in …

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Santa Maria della Vittoria

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Santa Maria della Vittoria Continuing on with our consideration of some of the great counter-reformation churches of Rome, we turn to Santa Maria della Vittoria which was built between 1608-1620 and dedicated to Our Lady of Victory.. As is typical of churches of this period, especially in Rome, its w…

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù (The Gesù)

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù  (The Gesù) Continuing on with our consideration of some of the counter-reformation churches of Rome, we turn to the one which is said to have begun them all, the Chiesa del Santissimo Nome di Gesù (Church of the Most Holy Name of Jesus), better known simply as the Gesù for short.   The…

The Neoclassicism of the Liturgical Arts of Cardinal Antonio Rusconi (1743-1825)

The Neoclassicism of the Liturgical Arts of Cardinal Antonio Rusconi (1743-1825) Cardinal Antonio Rusconi (1743-1825) was born into a patrician family of Bologna where he was also educated in at the university in both canon and civil law. In 1765 he would go to Rome and would travel broadly within the papal states. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1…

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Sant'Ignazio

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Sant'Ignazio If you take a very brief stroll from the Pantheon you will come across one of the great counter-reformation churches of Rome: Sant'Ignazio. Construction on Sant'Ignazio was begun in 1626 with the church finally being consecrated in 1722 -- though the first worship i…

Introducing the Architectural Firm, Franck and Lohsen

Introducing the Architectural Firm, Franck and Lohsen I wanted to bring our readers' attention to yet another worthwhile architectural firm, one of many that we try to feature here from time to time:  Franck and Lohsen . As always, we'll let the firm first of all speak for and define itself. Here is what they have to say…

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Santa Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa Nuova)

Counter-Reformation Churches of Rome: Santa Maria in Vallicella (Chiesa Nuova) Rome is a city in which we find various periods where there have been explosions of art. The eighth and twelfth century were certainly two such periods and another was the counter-reformation. The counter-reformation period was one which saw a great deal of attention paid t…

The History and Development of the Mitre

 The History and Development of the Mitre The mitre is one of the most recognizable symbols of prelates of the Church, specifically of bishops up to the Roman pontiff himself -- though, traditionally, it must be noted that it was also utilized as a special privilege given to certain minor prelates such as select ca…

The Playfulness of Rococo Liturgical Architecture

The Playfulness of Rococo Liturgical Architecture As we have have discussed in another article, Baroque versus Rococo: What's the Difference? , Rococo is often lumped in with baroque art and architecture, they are in of point, two different movements, albeit closely related one's. The parallel one might think of her…

The History and Forms of the Christian Altar: The Renaissance through Nineteenth Century

The History and Forms of the Christian Altar: The Renaissance through Nineteenth Century In the first two instalments of this series we considered the paleochristian form of the altar, cube-like and fashioned in either tomb form or table form, covered by an architectural canopy called the ciborium magnum . As we noted in those articles, by the eighth or ninth ce…

Monumental Catafalque for Benedict XVI at FSSP in Urbe

Monumental Catafalque for Benedict XVI at FSSP in Urbe The catafalque is a long-standing custom seen at Catholic funerals when the body of the deceased is not present, and at other high Masses of Requiem. It consists of a coffin-shaped frame of wood, covered with a black funeral pall (in some ways like a heavy blanket), setup a…

Funerary 'Obiit' Rendition of Benedict XVI's Arms by D'Azur ed D'Or of France

Funerary 'Obiit' Rendition of Benedict XVI's Arms by D'Azur ed D'Or of France During the past several days of Requiem Masses celebrated throughout the Catholic world for the repose of the soul of Benedict XVI, this rendition of the arms of the deceased retired Pontiff has stood out, seen on various candles and catafalques, especially in Rome and at T…

Traditional Ceremonies Surrounding the Death of a Roman Pontiff

Traditional Ceremonies Surrounding the Death of a Roman Pontiff The following excerpt comes in translation, taken from the works of a notable nineteenth century liturgist, Msgr. Xavier Barbier de Montault, describing the traditional ceremonies that accompanied the death of a pope. Such rites are of course, infrequent, and they have also…

Four Vestments on Epiphany Featuring the Adoration of the Magi

Four Vestments on Epiphany Featuring the Adoration of the Magi Epiphany is associated with events that denote the revelation of the Incarnation. In the Eastern church, this is represented primarily by the Baptism of Christ, whereas in the Latin West, it is represented by way of the Adoration of the Magi -- or Three Kings -- whom symbol…

Minor Roman Basilicas: Santa Maria in Cosmedin

Minor Roman Basilicas: Santa Maria in Cosmedin One of the more imposing facades of the minor basilicas in Rome surely must be that of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, located in the old Greek quarter of the city. In great part this is due to its impressively tall Romanesque belltower -- the tallest medieval example in all of Ro…

The Romanesque Altar and Ciborium of the Abbey of San Clemente al Vomano

The Romanesque Altar and Ciborium of the Abbey of San Clemente al Vomano While certainly not the oldest example of a ciborium in existence by any stretch, the ciborium found in the abbatial church of San Clemente al Vomano is noteworthy for reason that this mid-twelfth century example is a particularly fine medieval example, remaining in tact de…

Exceptions from the Rule: Coloured Mitres

Exceptions from the Rule: Coloured Mitres The history of the mitre as a garment dates back to Roman times, originally as a non-liturgical headdress for the pope. This garment was called the "camelaucum" and is the predessor to both the mitre and the papal tiara. The mitre, taken in in its present form as …

Nigra Sum Sed Formosa Filiae Ierusalem: The Black Madonna

Nigra Sum Sed Formosa Filiae Ierusalem: The Black Madonna "Nigra sum sed formosa, filiae Ieruselam" -- these words come from the Song of Solomon and are used within Vespers of the Blessed Virgin amongst other places. In fact, some of the most renowned composers of the Catholic liturgical tradition have made compositions …