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Articles on this Page
- 03/16/18--15:43: _The Raising of Laza...
- 03/17/18--05:00: _Laetare Sunday Phot...
- 03/17/18--16:01: _Photopost Request: ...
- 03/18/18--12:13: _Passion Sunday 2018
- 03/19/18--08:12: _Instruction Sheet f...
- 03/20/18--03:55: _Guardini's Spirit o...
- 03/20/18--08:03: _Christ Becomes the ...
- 03/20/18--11:35: _Roman Pilgrims at t...
- 03/20/18--13:52: _Fostering Young Voc...
- 03/21/18--06:06: _The Feast of St Ben...
- 03/21/18--20:10: _Passiontide Photopo...
- 03/22/18--05:50: _Triduum and Easter ...
- 03/22/18--13:36: _Follow-Up on Tuesda...
- 03/22/18--16:24: _Passiontide Photopo...
- 03/23/18--08:39: _The History of the ...
- 03/23/18--16:30: _Passiontide Photopo...
- 03/24/18--06:14: _Photopost Request: ...
- 03/24/18--09:00: _Holy Week Schedule ...
- 03/24/18--13:50: _Holy Week Schedule ...
- 03/24/18--16:31: _Passiontide Photopo...
- 03/16/18--15:43: The Raising of Lazarus in the Liturgy of Lent
- 03/17/18--05:00: Laetare Sunday Photopost 2018 (Part 2)
- 03/17/18--16:01: Photopost Request: Passiontide Veils 2018
- 03/18/18--12:13: Passion Sunday 2018
- Expositions on the life and work of Romano Guardini
- The legacy of Guardini and The Spirit of the Liturgy
- The place of Guardini within the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement
- The Spirit of the Liturgy and the Second Vatican Council
- Problematics posed or introduced by The Spirit of the Liturgy
- The relationship between Guardini’s and Ratzinger’s The Spirit of the Liturgy
- Relationships between the following in The Spirit of the Liturgy:
- Nature and grace, or nature and “cultural heritage”/civilization
- The individual and the community, the parish and the universal Church, or more generally the particular and the universal
- Change and stability
- Emotions, the mind, truth, or the will, etc.
- Vertical and horizontal aspects of the liturgy
- Liturgy and the moral life
- The subjective and the objective
- Popular piety/devotions, the spiritual life, and the liturgy
- Lex orandi and lex credendi
- Externality and internality
- Freedom and restraint
- Individual “style” and universality of expression
- The material and the spiritual
- Purpose and meaning
- Beauty, truth, and goodness
- Logos and ethos
- Contemplation and activity
- The role of the following in the liturgy, according to Guardini’s work
- Christ as figure or actor
- “Active participation”
- Sensibilities of the modern man
- Symbolism and typology
- Minimalism or simplicity
- Rubrics and rules
- The problems of aestheticism, moralism, Kantianism, or didacticism vis-à-vis the liturgy
- Reception and application of principles of The Spirit of the Liturgy in the post-modern context, or within Guardini’s own time
- The place of The Spirit of the Liturgy within Guardini’s oeuvre
- Guardini’s liturgical praxis and ars celebrandi
- Guardini’s work with youth
- Liturgy and technology
- 03/20/18--08:03: Christ Becomes the Mystagogical Catechist through the Mass
- 03/20/18--11:35: Roman Pilgrims at the Station Churches (Part 8)
- 03/20/18--13:52: Fostering Young Vocations (Part 7) - Who’s Afraid of the Cassock?
- 03/21/18--06:06: The Feast of St Benedict 2018
- 03/21/18--20:10: Passiontide Photopost 2018 (Part 1)
- 03/22/18--05:50: Triduum and Easter Schedule at St Agnes in St Paul, Minnesota
- 03/22/18--13:36: Follow-Up on Tuesday’s Cassock Post
- 03/22/18--16:24: Passiontide Photopost 2018 (Part 2)
- 03/23/18--08:39: The History of the Folded Chasuble, by Henri de Villiers (Part 1)
- 03/23/18--16:30: Passiontide Photopost 2018 (Part 3)
- 03/24/18--06:14: Photopost Request: Palm Sunday 2018
- 03/24/18--09:00: Holy Week Schedule for Westminster Cathedral, 1939
- 03/24/18--13:50: Holy Week Schedule for the St Ann Choir in Palo Alto, California
- 03/24/18--16:31: Passiontide Photopost 2018 (Part 4)
In his Treatises on the Gospel of St John, St Augustine notes à propos of this latter Gospel, and the resurrection of the dead at the end of the world, “(Christ) raised one that stank, but nevertheless in the stinking cadaver there was yet the form of its members; on the last day, with one word He will restore ashes to the flesh. But it was necessary that He should then do some (miracles), so that, when these were put forth as signs of His might, we might believe in Him, and be prepared for that resurrection which will be unto life, and not unto judgement. For He sayeth thus, ‘The hour cometh, when all that are in the graves shall hear His voice. And they that have done good things, shall come forth unto the resurrection of life; but they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment.’ ” (Tract 49, citing John 5, 28-29)
|The Raising Of Lazarus, painted by Giotto in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, 1304-06|
On the ferias of Lent, the Communion antiphons are taken each one from a different Psalm in sequential order, starting on Ash Wednesday with Psalm 1. The days which were formerly aliturgical do not form part of this series, namely, the six Thursdays, and also the first and last Saturday; the ferias of Holy Week are also not included. (See the table below; click for larger view.)
The series is also interrupted on five days when particularly important passages of the Gospels are read, and the Communion is taken from them instead, the last such being the Raising of Lazarus.
Communio Videns Dominus flentes sorores Lazari ad monumentum, lacrimatus est coram Judaeis, et exclamavit: Lazare, veni foras: et prodiit ligatis manibus et pedibus, qui fuerat quatriduanus mortuus.
Seeing the sisters of Lazarus weeping at the tomb, the Lord wept before the Jews, and cried out: Lazarus, come forth: and he who had been dead four days came forth, bound by his hands and feet.
The first reading of the Mass is Exodus 14, 15-31, the Crossing of the Red Sea, a passage which most rites have at the Easter Vigil. St Paul teaches in First Corinthians that this is a prefiguration of baptism: “Our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea. And all in Moses were baptized, in the cloud, and in the sea: And did all eat the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink; (and they drank of the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.)” (chap. 10, 1-4) St Ambrose, in his Commentary on the Song of Songs, says that just as the children of “after the crossing of the Red Sea … were cleansed … by the flow of the rock that poured forth spiritual water, for the rock was Christ; and therefore they ate the manna; so that, as often as they were washed clean, they might eat the bread of angels… now also, in the mysteries of the Gospel, you recognize that being baptized … you are cleansed by spiritual food and drink.” (IV.5; PL XV, 1905A)Ingressa Videns Dominus sororem Lazari ad monumentum, lacrimatus coram Judaeis, et exclamavit: Lazare, veni foras. Et prodiit ligatis manibus et pedibus, stetit ante eum, qui fuerat quatriduanus mortuus.Seeing the sister of Lazarus at the tomb, the Lord wept before the Jews, and cried out: Lazarus, come forth: and he who had been dead four days, coming forth, stood before him, bound by his hands and feet.
|The Crossing of the Red Sea, depicted in a paleo-Christian sarcophagus, a reasonably common motif in early Christian funerary art. The front of the sarcophagus has been sawed off and used as the front of an altar in the Cathedral of Arles in France.|
Psalmellus Occurrerunt Maria et Martha ad Jesum, dicentes: Domine, Domine, si fuisses hic, Lazarus non esset mortuus. Respondit Jesus: Martha, si credideris, videbis gloriam Dei. V. Videns Jesus turbam flentem, infremuit spiritu, lacrimatus; et veniens ad locum, clamavit voce magna: Lazare veni foras. Et revixit qui erat mortuus, et vidit gloriam Dei.The only other day on which the Psalmellus is taken from the Gospel is Holy Thursday, which in the Ambrosian Rite is much more focused on the Passion than on the Institution of the Eucharist. The first reading at the Ambrosian Mass of the Lord’s Supper is the entire book of Jonah, whose story Christ Himself explains as a prophecy of His death and resurrection; the Psalmellus which follows it is taken from the first part of the Passion of St Matthew, chapter 26, 17-75. The Ambrosian liturgy then makes explicit in the Preface this link between the death of Lazarus and that of Christ, in which our redemption is effected. (I here cite only the end of this beautiful text, which can only be spoiled in translation.)
Mary and Martha came to meet Jesus, saying: Lord, Lord, if Thou had been here, Lazarus would not have died. Jesus answered: Martha, if thou shalt believe, thou shalt see the glory of God. V. Seeing the crowd weeping, Jesus groaned in spirit, weeping, and coming to the place, He cried out in a loud voice: Lazarus, come forth. And he that had died came back to life, and saw the glory of God.
Praefatio O quam magnum et salutare mysterium, quod per resurrectionem Lazari figuraliter designatur! Ille tabo corporis dissolutus, per superni regis imperium continuo surrexit ad vitam. Nos quidem primi hominis facinore consepultos, divina Christi gratia ex inferis liberavit, et redivivos gaudiis reddidit sempiternis.The preface of the Fifth Sunday of Lent, sung during the Capitular Mass at the Basilica of St Ambrose in Milan in 2012. The part of the preface which I have cited above begins at 1:23.
O how great and profitable to salvation is this mystery, which is represented in a figure through the resurrection of Lazarus! He, being loosed from the corruption of the body, by the command of the Almighty King rose at once to life. Christ’s divine grace delivered us from hell, who indeed were buried by the crime of the first man, and restored us to eternal joy, when we had returned to life.
In the Byzantine Rite, the connection is made even more explicit; the Gospel of the Raising of Lazarus is read on the day before Palm Sunday, which is therefore called Lazarus Saturday. Bright vestments are used at the Divine Liturgy, instead of the dark vestments used at most services of Lent and Holy Week. The troparion sung at the Little Entrance declares the meaning of the Raising of Lazarus, and is also sung the following day, which is one of the Twelve Great feasts of the Byzantine liturgical year.
TroparionΤην κοινην Ἀνάστασιν προ τοῦ σοῦ Πάθους πιστούμενος, ἐκ νεκρῶν ἤγειρας τον Λάζαρον, Χριστε ὁ Θεός, ὅθεν και ἡμεῖς ὡς οἱ Παῖδες, τα τῆς νίκης σύμβολα φέροντες, σοι τῷ Νικητῇ τοῦ θανάτου βοῶμεν. Ὡσαννα ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις, εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι Κυρίου!
Confirming the general resurrection before Thy passion, Thou didst raise Lazarus from the dead, O Christ God! Whence we also, like the children, bearing the symbols of victory, cry out to Thee, the Vanquisher of death: Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!
The Paschal character of the day expressed by the use of bright vestments also informs the kontakion which follows the troparion.
Kontakion Ἡ πάντων χαρά, Χριστός, ἡ ἀλήθεια, το φῶς, ἡ ζωή, τοῦ κόσμου ἡ ἀνάστασις, τοῖς ἐν γῇ πεφανέρωται τῇ αὐτοῦ ἀγαθότητι, καὶ γέγονε τύπος τῆς ἀναστάσεως, τοῖς πᾶσι παρέχων θείαν ἄφεσιν.While the troparia and kontakia are sung by the choir, the priest silently reads a prayer called the Prayer of the Trisagion, but sings the doxology out loud. It is followed at once by the hymn “Holy God, Holy mighty one, holy immortal one, have mercy on us.” On a very small number of days, however, the Trisagion, as it is called, is replaced by another chant, the words of Galatians 3, 27, “As many of you as have been baptized in Christ, have put on Christ, alleluia.” Among these days are certain feasts of Lord such as Christmas, Epiphany (i.e. the Baptism of the Lord), Easter and Pentecost, and also Lazarus Saturday.
The joy of all, Christ, the Truth, and the Light, the Life, the Resurrection of the world, has appeared in His goodness to those on earth. He has become the image of our Resurrection, granting divine forgiveness to all.
As the Church prepares to accompany the Savior to His passion and death, and celebrate His glorious Resurrection, the Orthros (Matins) of Lazarus Saturday declares in several texts of surpassing beauty our salvation in Christ, who in His humanity wept for the death of Lazarus, the death He himself would shortly suffer, and in His divinity raised both Lazarus and Himself, as he will raise the whole of our fallen race on the last day.
Knowing beforehand all thing as their Maker, in Bethany didst Thou foretell to Thy disciples, ‘Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep today’; and knowing, Thou asked, ‘Where have ye laid him?” And to the Father Thou prayed, weeping as a man; whence also crying out, Thou raised from Hades Lazarus, whom Thou loved, on the fourth day. Therefore we cry to Thee: Accept, Christ and God, the praise of those that make bold to bring it, and deem all worthy of Thy glory.
O Christ, Thou raised Lazarus that was dead for four days from Hades, before Thy own death, confounding the power of death, and for the sake of one beloved to Thee, proclaiming beforehand the liberation of all men from corruption. Wherefore adoring Thy omnipotence, we cry out, ‘Blessed art Thou, o Savior; have mercy on us!’
Providing to Thy disciples the proofs of Thy divinity, among the crowds Thou didst humble Thyself, taking counsel to hide It; wherefore, as one that knoweth beforehand and as God, to Thy disciples Thou foretold the death of Lazarus. And in Bethany, among the peoples, perceiving not the grave of Thy friend, as a man Thou asked to learn of it. But he that through Thee rose on the fourth day made manifest Thy divine power; Almighty Lord, glory to Thee!
(Courtesy of the local Una Voce chapter)
Last year, the response to this request was just tremendous, and we received so many pictures that we wound up making four separate posts of them, with 115 photographs from over 50 different churches from all over the world! This was a record, one which we will, of course, be very happy to see matched or broken. Whenever we make these requests, we always include a photo from the previous year’s post on the same subject, but since each of the four had at least one thing that was unique about it, we will take the opportunity to look back on all four.
First, the text below, and then an image of a formatted version of it.
Instructions for the distribution of Holy Communion by an assisting priest at the Vetus Ordo
1) Having vested in cassock, surplice, and stole of the day’s color, the minister enters the sanctuary when he hears the celebrant beginning to say “Domine, non sum dignus.... (bell ring)” three times.
2) He kneels at the side of the altar during the servers’ Confiteor and the celebrant’s “Ecce agnus Dei,” and stands afterwards.
3) The minister receives the ciborium from the altar and proceeds to the communicants. (If the ciborium is in the tabernacle, he goes to the tabernacle, opens it, genuflects, and closes it without locking it; he genuflects again after opening the ciborium on the altar.)
4) The minister says, while making the sign of the cross with the host, “Corpus + Domini Nostri Iesu Christi [nodding his head at the Holy Name, and placing the Host on the tongue of the communicant] custodiat animam tuam in vitam aeternam. Amen.”
a) The priest should not go to the communicants without the server.
b) The whole formula should be pronounced for each communicant.
c) Communion must be received on the tongue and kneeling.
d) Formal blessings to non-communicants are not permitted by the liturgical books of 1962, and sacred ministers exercising their ministry at the Usus Antiquior are bound, as per Universae Ecclesiae 28, and Sacrosanctum Consilium 22§3, not to import extraneous blessings.
5) When all communicants have received Our Lord, the minister, taking care to keep his thumb and forefinger together, takes the paten from the server and ascends to the altar by the front steps, and places the paten on the corporal, leaving it there for the celebrant to purify.
6) He returns the ciborium to the tabernacle, taking care to keep thumb and forefinger together; opens the tabernacle; puts the ciborium into the tabernacle; genuflects; and closes the tabernacle.
7) After closing the tabernacle, the assistant priest washes his fingers with the water in the ablution cup (a small bowl-like container placed to the side of the tabernacle). He dips his thumb and index finger into the water and wipes his fingers on the accompanying purificator before returning to the sacristy.
 “Not. 1 Ne sacerdos praecipitanter S. Communionem distribuat, est enim ministerium sanctissimum, omnique possibili attentione et devotione pertractandum.” Sacrae liturgiae praxis juxta ritum romanum v.1. 272.
 “Not. 8 Non obstante magno communicantium numero, ad quemque illorum integra forma pronuntianda est, et crux cum S. Hostia exacte et reverenter formanda non autem praeceps manuum gesticulatio, ut distributio acceleretur.” Sacrae liturgiae praxis juxta ritum romanum v.1. 272.
 “Praeterea, cum sane de lege speciali agitur, quoad materiam propriam, Litterae Apostolicae Summorum Pontificum derogant omnibus legibus liturgicis, sacrorum rituum propriis, exinde ab anno 1962 promulgatis, et cum rubricis librorum liturgicorum anni 1962 non congruentibus.” UE §28.
 “Quapropter nemo omnino alius, etiamsi sit sacerdos, quidquam proprio Marte in Liturgia addat, demat, aut mutet.” SC Normae Generales 22 § 3. RS 186 :“Quisque enim semper meminerit se esse sacrae Liturgiae servitorem.” Missale Romanum, Institutio Generalis, n. 24. Cf. also the ceremonies for coram Sanctissimo, which praxis demonstrates that, in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, blessings are not imparted other than that of the prescribed Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament. It is the general rule that priests do not give blessings before the Eucharist when our Lord is not residing within the tabernacle – whether these be blessings of the incense, or of people, etc.
Call for Papers
Centenary of the Publication of
The Spirit of the Liturgy by Romano Guardini
September 27–29, 2018
Cathedral of St. Mary
A touchstone of the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement, Romano Guardini’s Spirit of the Liturgy marks its centennial year of publication in 2018. For the occa
Other proposals will be considered, but primary consideration will be given to proposals that are related to the conference theme.
Paper proposals of approximately 250 words should be emailed to Jennifer.Donelson@archny.org or mailed to Jennifer Donelson, 201 Seminary Avenue, Yonkers, NY 10704. Proposals must be received by Friday, May 4, 2018.
Presentations will be 45 minutes in length, followed by 15 minutes of discussion. Papers presented will be considered for publication in the SCL’s journal Antiphon: A Journal for Liturgical Renewal. Presenters must register for the full conference and will be responsible for their own expenses.
Book review: A Devotional Journey into the Mass - How Mass Can Become A Time of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion, by Christopher Carstens (pub. Sophia Institute Press).
Educating in Christ.
By emphasizing the sacramental nature of the Mass so profoundly and in such simple and clear language, and by showing its deep connection to Scripture and salvation history, it is, in my opinion, a foundational text for an approach to mystagogical catechesis that could reap rewards for a lifetime.
I appreciated particularly, for example, his emphasis also on lectio divina as a preparation for the Scripture that is proclaimed in the readings at Mass. Firstly, he de-mystifies it with simple and clear instructions on the method. Secondly, and just as importantly, he highlights how this exercise in meditation and contemplative prayer is consummated in the worship of God. It is not a higher activity, but one which, like all other activities that are not liturgical, derives its power and effectiveness from the liturgy, and so, in turn, leads us back to it for its consummation. To help us, Carstens explains beautifully how our personal pilgrimages are a participation in that which takes place in the story of salvation history, running through Old and New Testaments. This is a useful point for the evangelization of New-Agers and non-Christians who are looking to Eastern religions in a search for mystery. I would say that their desire to meditate is good, but will be even more powerful and effective if transformed to be harmony with its true place in the spiritual life.
I was gratified to read how strongly he makes the point that this is not just about the words. All art and even the architecture of the church building must reveal these universal truths in such a way that they are communicated to each person, and so act as clear perceptible signposts that direct us on our way. To the degree that we respond to what is offered, we can ourselves be formed as artists who then fashion our very lives to the template of the Paschal Mystery.
To take one example of how images can support this: some will remember my discussion on why the image of the three children in the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel is important for Christians. Through this book, Carstens enriched my own understanding and appreciation of this image even further with his detailed discussion of the Scriptural account of this episode, and its importance to the Mass. As he tells us, “its message, as well as its central text (Daniel 3, 39-40), is present at every Mass during the preparation of the altar and its gifts. This is truly right and just because the three youths exemplify the only true way for the Church to prepare for the Eucharistic sacrifice.”
I enjoyed the following passage about the priesthood. “There are a few words that the Roman Rite uses to describe its priests and one of them is pontifex. In Latin the noun pons means bridge... and -fex is the foundation of today’s word factory, the place where things are built. Put the two words together - pontifex - and you get bridge-builder, which is precisely what a priest is; his role is to bridge the divide between God and man and pass over from earthly woes to heavenly blessings. Christ is the Pontifex Maximus. Even though he does not need our assistance in his saving work, He makes us sharers in His priesthood at baptism, empowering us to build the Paschal bridge with Him during the Eucharistic prayer.”
My hope is to be formed as one of many such supernatural bridge-builders who are capable of forming an edifice that spans the divide between the liturgy and the culture of faith, and then, between the culture of faith and the wider culture; and further, that the cuture of faith can become a channel of divine beauty, bringing it from its source out into world, so that grace might be reflected in all human activity and every artefact that results from it. However, none of us can play a part in this if we don’t first come in from the dark, and “pass over”, so to speak, that bridge called the “Paschal mystery“ which connects us to the wellspring of grace and beauty, Christ present in the Eucharist.
Order the book here.
Christopher Carstens is the editor of the Adoremus Bulletin and one of the Liturgy Guys (along with Denis McNamara and Jesse Weiler) who create regular podcasts for the Liturgical Institute at Mundelein. He is also on the faculty of Pontifex University, for whom he has created an online class on the meaning of the Mass as part of the Master of Sacred Arts program.
the traditional founder of the Carmelites.
Pope St Damasus I (366-84, feast on December 11), containing the relics of his skull, is placed in the middle. This is a particularly appropriate choice, since he was a great promoter of devotion to the Saints and the cult of the relics, particularly those of the Roman martyrs. Within many catacombs, he rearranged the spaces around the tombs of the martyrs to make it easier for pilgrims to find and visit them, and decorated the tombs themselves with elaborately carved inscriptions written by himself in classical poetic meter. For this reason, he is honored as the patron saint of archeologists.
this article from August of last year on Riposte Catholique, Carcassonne currently has no seminarians, Perpignan has three, and Nimes two. Montpellier has 14 according to its own website, which Riposte Catholique reports makes for an increase since 2010 (Deo gratias!)
There is nothing wrong with a priest hanging out with the Young People™ and appearing in the occasional selfie, but that is not what it means to be a priest. On the website of the diocese of Perpignan, the slogan in the video “Aidez-nous à transmettre - help us to hand down” (hmmm... is there another word for that?) is elaborated with some other verbs: “help us to share, preserve, support celebrate.” Only one of these, the last, expresses what is means to be a priest. A priest is a leitourgos first and foremost, one who celebrates and offers a service on behalf of the people which they cannot celebrate and offer by themselves. He and he alone is the Pontifex, “the maker of the bridge” that unites Heaven to earth. If, as this rather sad little episode seems to indicate, a diocese becomes not merely reluctant to show a priest as a priest, but positively embarrassed by the idea, it should at least be honest and admit that the money collected in its fundraising appeal will be used to pay the lawyers who handle its receivership. But perhaps they realize that “Aidez-nous à disparaître” somehow lacks appeal...
I bring this item to the attention of our predominantly American readers not to depress you, but as a reminder of two things. First, as we come to the holiest days of the year, remember to pray for the Church throughout the entire world, for the places where the Faith is languishing as well as those where it is flourishing, and especially for those where it is persecuted. Second, remember that despite everything, much progress has been made towards better days, and will continue to be made. Back in the madness of the ’70s and ’80s, (and yes, well into the ’90s ... and yes, even beyond that), a cassock could well mark an American seminarian out for mistreatment or expulsion. In many places (not enough, but many) they are no longer the least bit controversial. I know of one congregation whose members 20 years were never seen in a cassock outside the most strictly formal occasions. A few years ago, the novices of that same congregation asked if they could wear the cassock for their first profession ceremony; not only was this permitted, it wasn’t even debated.
And finally, a reminder of what the sanity to which the Church will eventually return looks like. Tradition will always be for the young!
|Courtesy of the Regina Pacis Chaplaincy|
|The first two pages of the Rule of St Benedict, with the Prologue to be read on March 21st, from a Cistercian Martyrology printed at Paris in 1689.|
(Thanks for Mr Tim Clark for permission to reproduce this joke, which is just a joke; Mr Clark is himself a Browns’ fan, as was my father all his life!)
The chapel of St Joseph before veiling...
We are much obliged to Henri de Villiers and the Schola Sainte Cécile for permission to publish this translation by Mr Gerhard Eger of the article “Les chasubles pliés: Histoire et liturgie”, which is also being published simultaneously on Canticum Salomonis. Readers may also find some of our previous articles on folded chasubles of interest: here, here, and here, and on the short phelonion here.
|Etruscan pænula (rolled up over the arms), 4th century B. C.|
Christians naturally used this garment  and at the start of the 3rd century Tertullian chastised the faithful who took off their chasubles during liturgical prayers for reasons that he labelled superstitious . As the chasuble became a vestment of honour for high officers of the Empire, Christians sought to give their own tribunes and senators—bishops, priests, and deacons—a similar mark of honour.
In Christian writings, the first mention of the chasuble as a properly liturgical vestment is relatively late: it is found in the second of the two letters written by St Germain of Paris († 576), which contains a famous description of the mass according to the ancient Gallican rite:
The chasuble, which is known as amphibalus and which the priest wears, shows the original unity of all that was instituted by Moses the Lawgiver. Now, the Lord commanded that diverse vestments be made, so that the people might not dare wear what the priest wears. Hence it has no sleeves, since the priest’s duty is to bless rather than to minister. Hence from the start it has been of one piece, and not split or opened, since many are the hidden mysteries of Holy Scripture, which the learned priest must conceal under a seal, as it were, and preserve the unity of the faith, nor to fall into heresy or schism.Nevertheless, well before this first mention, numerous frescoes, mosaics, and miniatures from the 4th century onward show beyond doubt the chasuble was largely adopted during this era as a liturgical vestment, in the East as well as the West.
St Ambrose of Milan wearing a chasuble. Note the cut that facilitates the movements of the right arm. Mosaic dated 375 from the chapel of San Vittore in Ciel d’Oro in the basilica of St Ambrose.
For the celebrating bishop or priest, this vestment did not create any discomfort in carrying out the sacred ceremonies, as St Germain of Paris notes: “Hence it has no sleeves, since the duty of the priest is to bless rather than to minister”. But the ministers—deacons and subdeacons—had to adapt the chasuble for their purposes: they rolled back the front part of the vestment, so that the arms of the ministers would be free to handle the sacred vessels. And thus they were dubbed “folded chasubles”, or planetæ plicatæ ante pectus, as the Latin liturgical books say.
In order to better understand the form taken by this folding, below are some photographs taken from the journal L’Art d’Église (n. 4, 1948), which show a very successful attempt to recreate the ancient shape of the folded chasuble by the monks of the St Andrew’s Abbey in Belgium:
|The subdeacon’s folded chasuble|
The deacon’s chasuble: rolled and slung over the shoulder or simply folded, depending on the different moments of the Mass.
In fact, the folded chasubles worn by deacons and subdeacons were a clear symbol of their proper function as sacred ministers, i.e. of their role as servants of the celebrant.
Deacons’ and subdeacons’ folded chasubles were later replaced, beginning in the 5th century, by two new vestments: the dalmatic and the tunicle, vestments endowed with sleeves that made it more manageable for them to carry out their liturgical and ministerial functions.
Still, Rome took a long time to adopt this novelty, and the Ordines Romani that describe the Roman liturgy at the time of St Gregory the Great and a bit thereafter (7th century) still name the chasuble as the vestment worn by the pope, the deacons, and the subdeacons. Moreover, John the Deacon (c. 825-880), the biographer of St Gregory the Great (c. 540-604), in his Vita Gregorii Magni, designates the rest of the clergy that accompanied the Pope on processions with the term planeti (“those wearing planetæ”, i.e. chasubles).
When Rome finally accepted the use of dalmatics and tunicles, she nevertheless kept the use of folded chasubles for the deacon and subdeacon during Lent and penitential seasons, following the generally observed liturgical principle that the seasons considered the most holy are also those that are spared from liturgical innovations.
Furthermore, the dalmatic and tunicle are sumptuous vestments that symbolize joy and innocence. For a long time, their colour had to be white, and ancient dalmatics were also adorned with the two bright purple vertical bands (lati claves) that adorned the senatorial garb of old. During the ordination of a deacon, the bishop imposes the dalmatic upon him with these words: “May the Lord attire thee in the garment of salvation, and the vestment of joy (indumento lætitiæ), and ever surround thee with the dalmatic of justice”. The equivalent prayer for clothing the subdeacon with the tunicle also speaks of a vestimento lætitiæ. The use of the dalmatic and tunicle was consequently entirely inappropriate for penitential seasons, during which the old folded chasuble was hence preserved.
|The distribution of candles during the Feast of the Purification|
“In cathedrals and major churches, chasubles are used folded before the breast on fasting days (except on the vigils of the saints), and on the Sundays and ferias of Advent and Lent, and on the Vigil of Pentecost before Mass (except on Gaudete Sunday, and when its Mass is repeated during the week, on Lætare Sunday, on the Vigil of Christmas, on Holy Saturday during the blessing of the candle and during Mass, and on the Ember Days of Pentecost) also during the blessing of candles and procession on the day of the Purification of Our Lady, and during the blessing of ashes and the blessing of palms and the procession.
In smaller churches, however, on the aforesaid fasting days (the deacon and subdeacon) minister only with the alb; the subdeacon with the maniple, and the deacon also with the stole hanging from his left shoulder under his right.”
|Ordinations on Ember Saturday: the deacon and subdeacon, ministers of the bishop, wear folded chasubles.|
1. Folded chasubles were only used on penitential seasons, and hence only in violet or black. They were not used (even if the above rubric does not make it explicit) for the Mass on Maundy Thursday, celebrated in white, but were for the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday, celebrated in black. Before the reforms of the 1950s, the Vigil of Pentecost was like a second Paschal Vigil, and comprised six prophecies before, the beginning of the Mass. This fore-mass was celebrated in violet and hence folded chasubles were used. The subsequent Mass was in red. Likewise, on Holy Saturday, the deacon blessed the Paschal candle in a white dalmatic, then put on the folded chasuble again for the Fore-Mass in violet (which comprised twelve prophecies and the blessing of the font). The Mass following this Fore-Mass was in white vestments.
2. Sundays of Advent and Lent are not fasting days (one never fasts on Sundays, which always celebrates Christ’s resurrection) but are still included as part of penitential seasons because they are celebrated in violet. Nonetheless, the rubric of the Roman Missal does not mention Sundays of Septuagesima, which are also celebrated in violet. With some exceptions, medieval commentators did not recommend the use of violet chasubles during the season of Fore-Lent. (To follow the rubric rigorously, one should not use them on Sundays during Septuagesima, but one could consider using them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on the three weeks of this season, for they were once fasting days).
3. The two Sundays of Gaudete and Lætare are breaks in the midst of Advent and of Lent, days of joy when the Church gives the faithful a foretaste of the rejoicing that awaits them at the end of these two penitential seasons: the vestments are rose-coloured instead of violet, altars are adorned with flowers, and the organ and other musical instruments are played. The Mass of Gaudete Sunday can be celebrated again during the week that follows, and is endowed with the same privileges (the Mass of Lætare Sunday cannot be repeated during the following week, since each feria of Lent is provided with a proper mass).
4. The Ember Days of Pentecost are the sole Ember Days without fasting, because they are included in the Octave of Pentecost. Hence, unlike the Ember Days of September, Advent, and Lent, folded chasubles are not used during these masses.
5. By “major churches”, the rubric means cathedrals, collegiate churches, and also parish churches. This was confirmed by a decision of the Sacred Congregation of Rites dated 11 September 1847 addressed to Nicholas Wiseman, bishop of London, who was then reestablishing the Catholic hierarchy in England and whose entirely new parishes were still often bereft of vestments. The same decision counseled him to celebrate Mass in his cathedral without sacred ministers rather than have deacons and subdeacons without folded chasubles. This decision must have seemed a bit inflexible because it was suppressed in later collections of decrees of the S. C. R.: a principal church lacking folded chasubles can always have ministers serve without folded chasubles, wearing only alb, stole, and maniple.
6. Smaller churches seems to have been dispensed from using folded chasubles not so much because they lacked them but because it was more difficult to have three perfectly matching chasubles, two of which were folded.
7. Another response by the Sacred Congregation of Rites (n. 5385, 31 August 1867) specifies that folded chasubles must be used before the exposed Blessed Sacrament during the Forty Hours Prayer taking place in Advent or Lent.
8. The use of folded chasubles was linked to an idea of liturgical time, for they were not used during Requiem masses, which are not tied to any particular season; black dalmatic and tunicle are used instead.
Thus, the subdeacon takes off his folded chasuble before singing the epistle, and puts it on again immediately thereafter .
The proper office of the deacon begins with the singing of the Gospel and continues until the end of communion; during this time, he does not remove his folded chasuble entirely, but wears it folded and strung over his left shoulder, attached under the right arm with thin cords (or even by making a knot), over his stole. After communion, he unrolls the fabric and wears the chasuble folded as before.
|Deacon wearing his chasuble rolled up for the singing of the Gospel.|
Evolution of the transversed chasuble to the broad stole: on the left, a rolled chasuble on a mediæval stature of Wells Cathedral in England; on the right, the broad stole in its modern shape: a simple band of fabric without trims on the edges.
The cross-bearer subdeacon also wears a folded chasuble .
|Folded chasuble and broad stole from the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome.|
The use of actually folding the front part of the chasuble and keeping it folded with cords or hooks has persisted to our days.
In the 17th century, Pisacara Castaldo notes that folded chasubles must not be different from that of the celebrant . In the 18th century, Merato, commenting on Gavantus, further specified that the hooks that keep them folded must be removed between ceremonies lest the chasubles be damaged, and in order that priests might comfortably use them in low masses .
A folded chasuble is therefore exactly what its name suggests: a chasuble like any other, worn with the front part folded from within up to the level of the elbows, and often held in place by two steel clips.
|Mater Ecclesiae, Berlin, New Jersey|
Classical Roman shapes: deacon’s broad stole, celebrant’s chasuble, and subdeacon’s folded chasuble. Juventutem London.
 Cf. De Oratoribus chap. XXXIX, attributed to Tacitus (58 - c. 120)
 There are many chasubles that are said to have belonged to St Paul.
 Tertullian, De Oratione, chap. XV.
 Amalarius of Metz, De ecclesiasticis officiis, II, 19 (PL 105, 1095).
 A. King, Liturgy of the Roman Church, London-New York-Toronto, Longmans, 1957, p. 130.
 Even if some celebrants’ chasubles sometimes have folds or cords; this was the use in the cathedral of Rheims.
 De qualitate paramentorum tit. XIX, n. 6, 7. “In diebus vero ieiuniorum [præterquam in vigiliis Sanctorum) et in Dominicis et feriis Adventus et Quadragesimæ ac in vigilia Pentecostes ante Missam (exceptis Dominica Gaudete, si eius Missa infra hebdomadam repetatur, et Dominica Lætare, Vigilia Nativitatis Domini, Sabbato Sancto in benedictione Cerei et in Missa, ac quatuor temporibus Pentecostes) item in benedictione Candelarum et Processione in die Purificationis Beatæ Mariæ, et in benedictione Cinerum ac benedictione Palmarum et Processione, in Cathedralibus et præcipuis Ecclesiis utuntur Planetis plicatis ante pectus ; quam planetam Diaconus dimittit, etc. In minoribus autem Ecclesiis, prædictis diebus ieiuniorum Alba tantum induti ministrant : Subdiaconus cum manipulo, Diaconus etiam cum stola ab humero sinistro pendente sub dextrum.”
 “If the ministers are wearing the folded chasuble, the first acolyte rises during the last collect before the Epistle and takes the folded chasuble from the sub-deacon, then the latter takes the book, chants the Epistle, and kisses the hand of the celebrant. After returning the book, he revests again in the folded chasuble—either by the altar or at the credence—and transfers the Missal from the Gospel side with its cushion or book-stand.” Pio Martinucci, Manuale sacrarum Caerimoniarum, chap. VI, n. 14.
 “After the celebrant has begin reading the Gospel [in a low voice], the deacon descends from the altar by the side, as has been said. At the credence he deposits the folded chasuble and puts on the broad stole; then he takes the Gospel book, carries it to the altar, and completes the rest of his functions.” Pio Martinucci, Manuale sacrarum Caerimoniarum, chap. VI, n. 15.
 Caeremoniale Episcoporum, Book II, chap. XIII, n. 3.
 Pierre Jean Baptiste de Herdt, Pratique de la liturgie selon le rite romain, p. 213.
 A. Pisacara Castaldo, Praxis caeremoniarum, Neapoli, Scoriggium, 1645, p. 178.
 B. Gavantus—G.M. Merato, Thesaurus Sacrorum Rituum, Venetiis, Balleoniana, 1792, I, p. 48.
I would also ask people as much as possible to send the pictures as zipped files, are a lot easier to process, and to size them down so that the smaller dimension is around 1500 pixels.
Since we will have a lot more photoposts to do fairly soon, make sure you send them no later than Holy Tuesday, so we can post on Spy Wednesday. Requests will be posted for the rest of Holy Week and Easter fairly soon. Evangelize through beauty!
From the second of last year’s two Palm Sunday photoposts: a sea of palms in front of the church of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Alaminos, Laguna, in the Philippines.