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 Basilica of Sant'Ambrogio in Milan, we see a depiction St. Ambrose of Milan who is shown wearing such liturgical sandalia:

It is important to mention this rootedness in liturgical history as many today tend to make faulty historical assumptions about such liturgical garments being much later in their use and origins than they in fact are. In reality, their usage (which at one time extended to other clergy as well) is extraordinarily longstanding, and while their use within the Latin rite is today mainly limited to solemn pontifical Masses in the usus antiquior, within parts of the Christian East special liturgical shoes, called "Taleeg," are still worn today even by lower clergy:

Of course, when thinking of this tradition of replacing one's worldly shoes with special, liturgical one's, one's mind naturally turns toward the biblical account of Moses at the burning bush; there Moses is commanded: 
"Put off your shoes from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." (Exodus 3:5)  
In the Christian context, what more 'holy ground' is there than the altar and sanctuary within the context of the sacred liturgy?

All of this is simply by way of an introduction to share some of the liturgical sandals that were to be found in use within the New World, in this case French Canada (specifically Quebec).  These sandals come in the various liturgical colours (excepting black) and were frequently found embroidered with liturgical designs. Such embroidered designs may not have always been in strict alignment with the rubrics i would note, but their presence was common all the same -- and, indeed, that is often how customs and permissions develop within the Church. As you will see, some of these designs were Eucharistic in nature (shafts of wheat), others contained a cross similar to a papal shoe, while others (less commonly) included heraldic designs (i.e. the arms of the bishop).

Strictly speaking as well, the traditional form of liturgical sandals excluded any sort of heel, but here too we would see some development in this regard with the addition of a heel becoming common in practice in modern centuries.

Do you like Liturgical Arts Journal's original content? You can help support LAJ in its mission and vision to promote beauty in Catholic worship either by: 

You choose the amount! Your support makes all the difference.

Join in the conversation on our Facebook page.