The Thirteenth Century Mitre and Crozier of St. Bonaventure, the Seraphic Doctor

Vestments associated with saints are always a popular item of interest for our readers, so today we are happy to present the crozier and mitre of St. Bonaventure, the thirteenth century Franciscan and Doctor of the Church.  

Bonaventure was born in Italy in the year 1221 and died in 1274.  After obtaining his degree as Master at the University of Paris, he served as the Minister General of the Franciscan order. He was appointed Archbishop of York in the year 1265 but never took the post, however he would be appointed the Cardinal Bishop of Albano by Pope Gregory X in the year 1273. He would participate as such in the Second Council of Lyon, which saw the brief re-unification of the Latin and Greek churches, where he died under apparently suspicious circumstances. He was ultimately canonized by Pope Sixtus IV in the year 1484 and proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Sixtus V in 1587. 

Pisa has the honour of retaining these vestural relics of this Doctor of the Church.

The crozier of St. Bonaventure is fairly typical in its style and form for its period (and if one looks to the bottom of the reliquary, be sure not to miss the staff portion of the crozier, which is made of carved wood). The crozier itself appears to possibly be made of wood (though possibly too of a gilt metal) covered in gold leaf with the Agnus Dei found at the centre of the crook of the crozier.  The floriated elements surrounding this were stylistically common for this period and beneath one can see an image of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan order, set within a gothic architectural framework.

Of particular interest is the mitre. It might seem extremely simple but if one looks closely, aside from the embroidery that defines the orphreys I would note that it would appear the mitre formerly contained precious stones and metalwork that were at some point removed (perhaps repurposed for another mitre).

A closer look shows where the circular medallions, stylistically typical to this period, to either side of the orphrey would have been attached, and within the orphrey itself one can tell that precious stones would have been inserted in the spots denoted by the red background, couched by embroidery.

So what might these missing elements have looked like if fully in tact? It would have been something akin (though less ornate) to this mitre, taken from the treasury of the Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Assisi, Italy:

Or also akin to A.W.N. Pugin's nineteenth century gothic revival mitre; here you can see especially clearly the circular medallions, in this case made of a combination of metal, enamel and precious stone, as well as the embedded stones within the orphreys.

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