Saturday, 31 August 2013

New Secretary of State of the Holy See

Consecration of Monsignor Parolin
by Pope Benedict in 2009.
The Most Reverend Pietro Parolin, presently Apostolic Nuncio to Venezuela, was named by Pope Francis as Secretary of State of the Holy See today.

Italian by birth, the 58 year old Archbishop had previously been an official of the Secretariat of State during the Pontificates of the Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

On 12th September, 2009, Pope Benedict consecrated Parolin a bishop along with four other prelates, in Saint Peter's Basilica.

Photographs taken at the Consecration are shewn adjacent.

Images Copyright Spaziani.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Papal Ceremonies of the Sixteenth Century

At the blog Idle Speculations, we found the adjacent image of a fresco and a description of the Coronation of the Spanish King Charles as Holy Roman Emperor at Bologna.

The Coronation was performed by Pope Clement VII  in the Cathedral of San Petronio, Bologna on 24th February 1530.

The fresco is not painted onto a wall, but on the ceiling of the office of the Mayor of Florence in the Palazzo Vecchio.  It was painted by the artist Giorgio Vasari after 1555.

Vasari's depiction of the Coronation is quite interesting for students of the history of sacred vestments because, since it is painted in the middle of the 16th century, a transitional point from mediaeval to baroque styles is illustrated.

A detail of Vasari's 16th century fresco.
In the detail shewn above, Pope Clement is placing the crown upon the head of the Emperor. We find the Pope vested in a linen albe, with close fitting sleeves and whose skirt is ornamented with an embroidered apparel. It would appear that the cuffs of the albe are enriched in some way. Notice, however, that there is no sign of lace in the Pope's albe. Over the albe, the Pope is wearing an ample golden chasuble. The chasuble is very flowing and partly folded back at the arms. Not unusually, we find the painting does not represent the Pope dressed in full pontificals, since he lacks the tunicle and dalmatic, but most importantly, he is lacking the pallium. An extremely short and narrow maniple is upon the left forearm of the Pope. This is a far-cry from the exaggerated spade-ended maniples of the High Baroque.

Assisting the Pope are two deacons, vested in matching dalmatics which are also quite ample. The dalmatic are ornamented with the clavi, but also an apparel at the upper back (presumably also upon the breast). A roundel upon the apparel appears to be embroidered with IHS. Pendants of tassles hanging from the shoulders of the dalmatic are also depicted, a feature of late mediaeval / early baroque ornamentation. It is believed that such tassles were originally an elaboration of the lacing used to tie together the front and back of the dalmatic at the shoulders. Subsequently, they became purely decorative.

Another detail of Vasari's fresco.

Another detail of Vasari's fresco is shewn above, which depicts some of the bishops present at the Coronation. These bishops are all depicted wearing Mass vestments: amice, albe, cincture, stole, maniple and chasuble. In each case, the amice of the bishops is ornamented with an apparel: a survival of mediaeval usage. Although their albes are unornamented, the close-fitting cuffs appear to be decorated. The four bishops are wearing chasubles which are less ample than the one the Pope is depicted as wearing, but nevertheless appear to be gathered away from the elbows and are long and flowing. Each of the chasubles is decorated with the TAU Cross, which was the usual form of ornament in Italy. The bishop in the centre, with hand raised, also wears a diminutive maniple.

We might also comment on the mitres worn by these bishops, which are more or less identical to each other. They are the simplex mitres worn by non-officiating or concelebrating bishops, just as happens today. These mitres are also in the style of the 15th century (which differed little from that of the 14th century) being neither excessively tall (these ones are approximately 12" tall) nor with rounded sides (a fashion which became fashionable in Rome in the 16th century and persists to this day).

Although the scene depicted by Vasari is probably not very accurate as a presentation of a Papal Liturgy, nevertheless it undoubtedly depicts the style of vestments used throughout Italy in the 16th century. Those who believe lace albes, 18 inch tall mitres and "fiddleback" chasubles are the touchstone of Tradition would do well to examine such works of art as this to gain a broader appreciation of tradition.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Festal Vestments

A priest of the Diocese of Brentwood (UK) commissioned the Studio to prepare a set of vestments for Greater Days in the Borromeon form. The chasuble was made from a splendid Renaissance-style silk damask in silver and gold, ornamented with a silk damask of burgundy and gold, outlined with a narrow galloon. The vestments were lined in burgundy-red taffeta.

The ornamentation of the chasuble (see adjacent images) was in the traditional Roman style of the TAU.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Ave Maris Stella

The Saint Bede Studio is pleased to announce a new range of vestments specifically for Festivals of the Blessed Virgin Mary. This is called Ave Maris Stella. The decorative focus of this new vestment range is an orphrey braid which is based on the work of AWN Pugin.

This braid is produced in two shades of blue (lighter and darker) with figured ornament in gold. This braid was designed by the Studio and is only available through it. The braid can be used on fabrics either brighter white in colour, or ivory and can also be used to decorate dalmatics and copes.

The chasuble shewn in the adjacent photograph was produced for a priest of the Archdiocese of Galvaston-Houston USA. It is made from a silk damask and lined in a vibrant blue dupion silk.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

Priestly Ordinations 2013 : 8

Each year, the Saint Bede Studio has the privilege of preparing sacred vestments for Ordinands. Happily, this year has been no exception. This post concerns Father Justin Raines, a student of the Pontifical North American College, who was ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the Cathedral of the Incarnation, Diocese of Nashville, Tennessee on 27th July.

Father Raines commissioned vestments made in the Borromeon form for his First Holy Mass. The chasuble (shewn adjacent) was made from a rich ecclesiastical brocade in ivory and gold and was ornamented with a brocade in the colours of burgundy, red and gold, outlined with narrow braids,  in the Roman style. The vestments were lined in red taffeta.

Please pray for Father Raines and for all newly-ordained priests.


Father Straub after his First Mass.

Thursday, 8 August 2013

2014 Ordinands


Because of the volume of work presently being undertaken by the Studio, it will be necessary for new commissions for the first half of 2014 to be arranged by the end of September.

If you are considering vestments, please do not delay your enquiry.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Pope Paul VI 1963-1978

Today, the Feast of the Transfiguration, is the 35th Anniversary of the death of Pope Paul VI.

May his soul, and the souls of all the Faithful Departed, through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Time "per annum" In the Vatican Basilica

On 7th July, Pope Francis celebrated Mass in Saint Peter's for Seminarians and Novices of Religious Congregations. The vestments worn by the Pope for that Mass have been shewn here before, but they are seen to better advantage in these photographs. They are a very attractive shade of green, even if the ornament is rather uninspired.

Once again, Pope Francis used the staff or ferula of Pope Paul VI, which he seems to prefer.

Images copyright Spaziani.

Friday, 2 August 2013

Pope Francis at the Gesú

Pope Francis commemorated the Feast of Saint Ignatius Loyola at the church of the Gesú in Rome. He concelebrated Mass with 200 Italian Jesuits. At the end of the Mass the Pope prayed and lit a lamp before the altar of St. Ignatius; he also visited the Chapel of Madonna della Strada, the altar of Saint Francis Xavier and the tomb of Father Pedro Arrupe, sometime Jesuit General.

The adjacent photographs were taken from the website of the Roman Jesuit Superior General. On this occasion, Pope Francis wore vestments which are part of the collection of the Gesú  being a chasuble of dupion silk, ornamented with the Tau.

Pope Francis in the sacristy of the Gesu.

During the celebration of the Papal Mass.
Some comments on one photograph from the Mass, which illustrate the liturgical arrangements found at the Gesú. This renowned church is an example of how arrangements can be made for versus populum celebration of the Mass without compromising the integrity of an historic interior, a work of art. The photograph taken from one of the galleries shews the arrangement for the Pope's Mass in a sanctuary which is outside the original presbyterium. This arrangement leaves the original presbyterium intact.

The new sanctuary area is arranged on a large raised podium, which is a muted colour, and features a cube-shaped altar, also in muted tones (possibly faced with copper). The small scale of this altar (in the primitive style) and its colour make it almost invisible from first glance. What is not obvious from the photographs is that all the furnishings of this sanctuary, together with the podium itself are completely removable.

Click on the images for an enlarged view.

During the celebration of Mass.
The Pope alone stands at the cube-shaped altar, with concelebrants
standing in a semicircle around the altar.

The interior of the Gesu: a nearly invisible free-standing altar.