The Resplendent St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis

The Resplendent St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis St. Louis, known as the Rome of the West, has long been a focal point of intense Catholic life and culture. Steadfast generations have maintained a stronghold of Catholic identity here, with filial devotion to the Church and her sacred liturgy manifested in a deep Eucharist…

Custom Made Silks from Antico Opificio Serico (Caserta, Italy)

Custom Made Silks from Antico Opificio Serico (Caserta, Italy) Italian textile art is known and respected worldwide. The art of fabric woven by expert craftsman with artisanal techniques is a beautiful thing that has been going on since 1789 in the Italian town of Caserta. Located just north of Naples in the Province of Benevento. this…

A Truncated Conical from Atelier Sirio - Perfect for Lent

A Truncated Conical from Atelier Sirio - Perfect for Lent A telier Sirio is an Italian vestment maker located in the north of Italy in Bergamo. One of the sets of designs that frequently capture my attention are their medieval inspired works in a form that I am going to call "semi-conical" or "truncated conical,"…

The Italo-Byzantine Cappella Palatina of the Royal Chapel of Palermo, Sicily

The Italo-Byzantine Cappella Palatina of the Royal Chapel of Palermo, Sicily The Cappella Palatina (Palatine Chapel) is a stunning piece of Italo-Byzantine architecture situated Palermo, Sicily. It is situated in the former Royal Palace of Palermo, then seat of the kings of Sicily.  The chapel might easily be mistaken for the Cathedral of Monreale , …

A Survey of 15th Century Italian Renaissance Sculptures of the Madonna

A Survey of 15th Century Italian Renaissance Sculptures of the Madonna Talk of Madonnas of the Renaissance, especially Italian ones, and one almost instinctually turns one's thoughts to the realm of painting, especially to the works of artists like Botticelli, Raphael, Da Vinci and so on. However, another whole realm in this regard is that…

A Review of More Sacred Vestments in Sacred Art

A Review of More Sacred Vestments in Sacred Art Continuing on with our exploration of some of the sacred vestments that appear in sacred art, we've compiled a few more since our last article on this subject. In looking at vestments in art, one must always bear in mind that generally where antique art is concerned, th…

The Custom of Vesting the Patronal Statue at San Remigio-Fosdinovo in Tuscany

The Custom of Vesting the Patronal Statue at San Remigio-Fosdinovo in Tuscany Each year at the parish of San Remigio in the village of Fosdinovo in Tuscany has two celebrations to commemorate the memory of their patron, St. Remigio (St. Remigius). January 13 is the main feast day and October 1st is the day that recalls the translation of his relics. …

Arte Ricami: Purveyors of Custom Vestments

Arte Ricami: Purveyors of Custom Vestments We are living in an impressive age of liturgical Renaissance, when many lay people are mastering or remastering the art of artisanal vestment making. The Italian atelier Arte Ricami based in Tuscany has been around since 1932. They are a family owned and operated business lo…

Altar of Pius X at Madri Pie Convent in Rome

Altar of Pius X at Madri Pie Convent in Rome Many convents in the vicinity of the Vatican have various items given to them by popes. Popes receive a great many gifts and they usually pass these on to others in need. These once vibrant orders, before the collapse that coincided with Vatican II, were flush with young vo…

Portable Altars from St. Joseph's Apprentice

Portable Altars from St. Joseph's Apprentice Many thanks to St. Jospeh's Apprentice for their wonderful work. Based in Idaho, this professional craftsman by the name of Rick Murphey makes the most beautiful custom portable altars available today. His work must be commended. I urge the faithful to consider gifting…

The Sixteenth Century Vestments of San Lorenzo de el Escorial

The Sixteenth Century Vestments of San Lorenzo de el Escorial In follow-up to yesterday's article, I wanted to show our readers a set of sacred vestments that our friend Nicola de Grandi documented while visiting the museums of Spain; a set of vestments from San Lorenzo de el Escorial which are dated to 1569-1572. Regrettably, I ha…

The Pontifical Vestments of the Royal Embroiderer, Antonio Gómez de los Ríos

The Pontifical Vestments of the Royal Embroiderer, Antonio Gómez de los Ríos Between 1743-1756, the royal embroiderer Antonio Gómez de los Ríos created a full pontifical set of vestments for the Royal Chapel of the Palace of Madrid. These exquisite vestments contain a series of embroideries done in the effusive baroque style that were based on a num…

A Florentine Altar Cross from the Early 1500's

A Florentine Altar Cross from the Early 1500's It has been my experience that liturgical objects such as altar crosses and candlesticks (not to mention thuribles) seldom get the attention they deserve where popular consideration of liturgical art is concerned. Perhaps in part this is due to the fact that they are locate…

The Marie Reine du Canada Pilgrimage in Quebec

The Marie Reine du Canada Pilgrimage in Quebec Last year marks the 20th anniversary of the wonderful Marie Reine du Canada walking pilgrimage in Quebec. God bless and reward the dedicated and zealous organizers and volunteers who work hard every year to make this wonderful pilgrimage a reality. It is rare to have such a…

A Fifteenth Century English Cope

A Fifteenth Century English Cope This particular cope which we are looking at today comes from fifteenth century England. It's design represents a more classically medieval approach than a renaissance one, perhaps indicative of the fact that there would be an inevitable delay in fashions and styles spr…

Sacred Music Released by St. Joseph's College Seminary (Diocese of Charlotte)

Sacred Music Released by St. Joseph's College Seminary (Diocese of Charlotte) The wonderful St. Joseph's College Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina has released two of their own CDs with chants and motets. The recordings were made at the nearby church of St. Anne, with the seminarians singing along with the Daughters of the Virgin Mother, a lo…

The Terno of Cardinal Cisneros

The Terno of Cardinal Cisneros Dated to the 1500's, the so-called "Terno of Cardinal Cisneros" is considered an important period example of the embroidery and textiles of the period. First a bit about the name. In speaking of the "Terno" of Cardinal Cisneros, I include that term f…

First Millennium Liturgical Architecture: The Synthronon

First Millennium Liturgical Architecture: The Synthronon An element of early Christian (and especially Byzantine/Eastern Roman influenced) ecclesiastical architecture is the tiered, semi-circular structure located in the apsidal space of the sanctuary/presbytery know as the synthronon . Invariably questions arise about what it is …

Understanding the Liturgical Ordering of San Clemente and Santa Maria in Cosmedin

Understanding the Liturgical Ordering of San Clemente and Santa Maria in Cosmedin Sometimes when people see certain basilicas in Rome, basilicas such as San Clemente, Santa Maria in Cosmedin, or the ancient catacomb basilica of Ss. Nereus and Achilleus (see above), they are rather mystified by the liturgical orderings they see before them. To many a Cath…

The Mantum of Clement XIII and Cope of John Paul II

The Mantum of Clement XIII and Cope of John Paul II A lesser seen photo of Pope John Paul II shows him celebrating Solemn Vespers at the papal basilica of S. Maria Maggiore in Rome in 1985 on the occasion of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and in the presence of Rome's popular devotional image, the Madonna  Salus P…

The Banners of the Vatican Basilica by Panini

The Banners of the Vatican Basilica by Panini My personal favorite oil on canvas painting at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is called the "Interior of Saint Peter's, Rome" by Giovanni Paolo Panini. This lovely images dates from 1754 . The artist was born in 1691 in Piacenza and died in 17…

Sacra Domus Aurea's Bespoke Silk Inspired by the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Sacra Domus Aurea's Bespoke Silk Inspired by the Miraculous Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe One of the more ambitious and creative projects that I have seen in recent years is a project pursued by the vestment atelier Sacra Domus Aurea who are based in Italy.  We have featured this atelier before of course, but what is of particular interest in this instance is on…

The Church of the Holy Apostles in Athens: Exploring More Architectural Commonalities Between East and West

The Church of the Holy Apostles in Athens: Exploring More Architectural Commonalities Between East and West In another article published in September 2023, we looked at the church of Hosios Loukas in Distomo, Greece and discussed some of the strong similarities that can be found in Byzantine (i.e. Eastern Roman) churches of the first millennium with their comparable Western Roman…

Before and After: Holy Innocents in Long Beach, California

Before and After: Holy Innocents in Long Beach, California Harrison Design recently completed a major renovation of a Spanish Mission Revival church in Long Beach, California. In an all too familiar story, the church had been drastically remodelled in the 1970's and 1980's and, regrettably, there is no known documentation o…

Hand-Illuminated Altar Cards for the 25th Anniversary of the Founding of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius

Hand-Illuminated Altar Cards for the 25th Anniversary of the Founding of the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius Recently, Pelican Printery House executed a commission for the Canons Regular of St. John Cantius in Chicago for a set of hand-illuminated altar cards for use in the celebration of the  usus antiquior , or Tridentine Latin Mass.  Now, we have featured  similar work from this e…

Altar Frontals from Penson Ecclesiastlcal Arts

Altar Frontals from Penson Ecclesiastlcal Arts Frequently LAJ is approached about the question of procuring altar frontals (i.e. antependia) for their altar and so today I wanted to introduce our readers to Penson Ecclesiastical Arts , a firm which is based out of the United Kingdom (a place which retains a particularly …

The Twentieth Century Experiment: Placing a Gothic Y-Orphrey on a Roman Chasuble

The Twentieth Century Experiment: Placing a Gothic Y-Orphrey on a Roman Chasuble Think of the "classic" y-orphrey and one's mind naturally tends toward gothic vestments -- specifically gothic revival vestments (for while the y-orphrey could be found in the actual gothic period, it was by no means universal or absolute; many other orphrey p…

Romanesque Revival in the Holy Land: Church of St. Joseph in Nazareth

Romanesque Revival in the Holy Land: Church of St. Joseph in Nazareth One of my favorite places to visit in the Holy Land is St. Joseph's church located a minute's walk from the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth. Situated up a hill in the Old City of Nazareth, this beautiful little church is under the care of the Franciscans. …

Liturgical Sandals from French Canada

Liturgical Sandals from French Canada Pontifical sandals are special liturgical footwear traditionally worn by prelates. As we detailed in our July 2018 article, Pontifical Sandals; A Brief History and Consideration , their liturgical use is quite ancient. As an example, in this fifth century mosaic found in the…

The Fifteenth Century Chasuble of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza

The Fifteenth Century Chasuble of Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza Cardinal Pedro González de Mendoza lived from 1428-1495, having been appointed the Cardinal Archbishop of Seville in the year 1473. The cardinal was a statesman, lawyer and the chancellor of Castille -- and, of interest perhaps to our American readers, a great advocate of t…

On Balustrades (Cancelli), Rood Screens and Iconostases

On Balustrades (Cancelli), Rood Screens and Iconostases If one looks at the historical churches of the East and West, a distinctive feature that at one time could be commonly found in many of them (especially the larger churches) was the separation of the altar and presbytery (i.e. sanctuary) from the rest of the church. This wa…

Splendours of Renaissance Spain

Splendours of Renaissance Spain Continuing on with our exploration of Renaissance era vestment work, today I wanted to turn your attention to two vestment sets coming from Spain and the Spanish tradition.  First, let's discuss what is common between the two sets.   In the first instance, both sets util…

Vestments from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Madrid

Vestments from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Madrid The following are some photos of vestments coming from the Metropolitan Cathedral of Madrid, Santa Maria la Real de la Aldmudena . The first set he photographed is a Solemn Mass set inclusive of antependium, with the typical Spanish styled chasuble and dalmatic/tunicle (and …

The Basilica dei Santi Apostoli in Rome

The Basilica dei Santi Apostoli in Rome One could be forgiven if they happened to walk past the Basilica dei Santi Apostoli in Rome and failed to notice it was even a church. This is in large part due to its rather distinctive, two storey portico -- not to mention the fact that there is not much of a street view …

Before and After: Immaculate Conception in Rapid City, South Dakota

Before and After: Immaculate Conception in Rapid City, South Dakota On August 20th the newly restored altar and sanctuary of Immaculate Conception in Rapid City were unveiled. We have written on this beautiful church before in a previous article . This precious diamond is the historic former cathedral of Rapid City. It is heartening to see t…

Antependium of the Poor Clares Convent of Santa Clara in Cordoba, Spain

Antependium of the Poor Clares Convent of Santa Clara in Cordoba, Spain Today we feature an antependium coming from the sixteenth century. Many antependia, or altar frontals, of the modern period (I am speaking here broadly, i.e. in terms of the past few centuries) are not characterized by figurative imagery. Generally they are designed either …

Christmas Octave Masses at St. Kateri's Mission

Christmas Octave Masses at St. Kateri's Mission In a previous article we looked at the Mohawk-language Advent Masses from the Mission of Kahnawake ,  a center of American Indian Catholicism that is now known as the Canadian National Shrine of St. Kateri Tekakwitha. We now examine the mission's Mohawk-language Masses fo…

Other Modern: The Art Nouveau Church of St. Leopold in Steinhof, Vienna

Other Modern: The Art Nouveau Church of St. Leopold in Steinhof, Vienna In terms of "Other Modern" (which, to explain it to readers unfamiliar with the concept, is a modern style which is significantly influenced by and not detached from the classical forms of artistic expression), I have personally always felt that Art Nouveau was on…

Paleochristian Revival in Sardinia, Italy: Monasterio di Luras

Paleochristian Revival in Sardinia, Italy: Monasterio di Luras Recently a monastery located on the Italian island of Sardinia came to my attention and it struck me for reason of its architectural approach, firmly rooted as it is in both the paleochrisitan and Italo-Byzantine traditions. Rather than provide our own breakdown, LAJ was pr…

A Selection of Vestments in the Lyonese Style

A Selection of Vestments in the Lyonese Style Of French vestments, the Parisian style is the one that tends to get the widest circulation for one reason or another -- and for those who aren't familiar with the sort of distinction to which I am referring, I'd invite you to see our article, Paris and Lyon: Orphre…

The Church of San Fermo Maggiore in Verona

The Church of San Fermo Maggiore in Verona In follow up to our previous article on the "tornacoro" of the Duomo of Verona, within that article we mentioned the rarity of this type of balustrade/screen which comes in semi-circular form and includes elements of both the paleochristian balustrade and medieval…