Detail of Facade
The mediaeval baptismal font
Images: Skyscraper City
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The development of statues for churches came in the West in tandem with the desire to create the illusion of space in two-dimensional representations, generally identified with the beginning of the gothic period in about the 12th century. This did not cause the tradition of relief carving to die out in the West. It has always flourished in both Eastern and Western churches
Relief carving in effect, is a monochrome painting in shadow. So although there is a physical deviation from a strict two-dimensional representation not as a statue does, by imitating the three-dimensional shape, but rather by creating the illusion of depth by altering the tone of the shadow. Where the shadow is to be black (or darkest) the cut is deep and the surface angle close to perpendicular to the broad plane of the image. Where a grey or mid-tone is required, the cut is less deep and the surface angle somewhere in between, depending on how dark or light the artist wishes to make it appear. Where the tone required is white (or lightest possible) the surface faces us directly and is parallel to the broad plane of the image.
The conventional classification of relief carving is a division into bas relief (bas in French is low) and alto (ie high) relief. In the first the cut is shallow and there is no undercutting so that representation is never more than half in the round. Alto relief is where there is undercutting and so there are some elements that are carved more than half in the round. Sunken relief, or intaglio, is where the negative space around the figures is flat and the figures are cut out from it below that surface. For more information on this see article here.
Some might point out that the reason we can perceive form in a conventional statue that is not painted, for example all marble is due to shadow too. This is true. But the difference here is that the shadow is revealing is the true shape of the statue, which in turn imitates the idea in the mind of the artist. Whereas, in relief carving it paints, so to speak, the illusion of depth.
As with all these things, the division between the different techniques is never absolute. Bernini, the great baroque sculptor used to deviate from a strict representation of appearances in his statues and exaggerate certain elements by cutting deep into the stone and creating sharper contrast. He would say that as he didn’t have colour to manipulate the gaze of the viewer, shadow was the main tool that he had.
Below and above, Byzantine 10th century, St Demetrios
On Sundays and Feast days, the "Hymnus Trium Puerorum" or Benedicite (an abridged form of the Canticle of the Three Youths from the Book of Daniel) was sung. Historically speaking, W.C. Bishop notes that the Benedicite was to be required at all Masses by the fourth Council of Toledo in A.D. 633, but that "its use was by no means constant and appears to have been subject to much variation." (The Mozarabic and Ambrosian Rites: Four Essays in Comparative Liturgiology, "The Mass in Spain", p. 23) Archdale King further notes that the Missale itself would seem to restrict its use to the first Sunday of Lent and the Feast of St. James.
Christians therefore read the Old Testament in the light of Christ crucified and risen. Such typological reading discloses the inexhaustible content of the Old Testament; but it must not make us forget that the Old Testament retains its own intrinsic value as Revelation reaffirmed by our Lord himself. Besides, the New Testament has to be read in the light of the Old. Early Christian catechesis made constant use of the Old Testament. As an old saying put it, the New Testament lies hidden in the Old and the Old Testament is unveiled in the New.
On Sunday, December 26th, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke offered a Pontifical Solemn High Mass at the Seminary of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in Rome. The Mass was offered in honor of Fr. Stefano Maria Manelli, being his patronal feast day, and in thanksgiving for the elevation of His Eminence to the Cardinalate. The Mass was sung by the combined choirs of the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate from various convents of the F.I. in Italy, and was conducted by Sr. Maria Cecilia Manelli and Fr. Giovanni Maria Manelli – resulting in an outstanding example of the magnificence the Mass is meant to have. The Friars and Sisters also had the honor of hosting His Excellency Bishop Gino Reali of the local diocese of Porto-Santa Rufino, Rome.
In his homily, Cardinal Burke focused on the need for beauty and splendor in the sacred liturgy, echoing what His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI wrote in the letter accompanying his Moto Proprio “Summorum Pontificum:” “It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were ‘two Rites’. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.” And “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place…”
Saturday, December 18th, feast of the Expectation of Mary saw the return of the Rorate Mass to the Diocese and city of Buffalo, New York after decades of absence. The Rorate Mass (Roratemesse in German, Msza Roratnia or Roraty in Polish) was celebrated at St. Ann's Church and Shrine, an ethnically German parish that later welcomed many Polish immigrants and their families, and is now a predominantly Black parish in the inner-city.
The Rorate Mass was offered according to the usus antiquior by the Reverend David Bialkowski, pastor of St. John Gualbert's Parish in Cheektowaga, NY (just outside of Buffalo). Fr. Bialkowski regularly celebrates the Extraordinary Form at the historic Maria Hilf, or Our Lady Help of Christians Chapel, also in Cheektowaga.
Organized by a parishioner, the Mass was a normal sung Mass with incense, with a few ethnic variations: the presence of a seventh candle near the altar, called in Polish the Roratka or Świeca roratnia. The candle traditionally has some Marian attribute including a flower (usually a lily to symbolize Our Lady's perpetual virginity) tied to the candle with a blue or white ribbon. The candle symbolizes Christ, the Light of the World, coming from Mary.
The other (Polish) custom was that the lights were turned on at the intonation of the Gloria, whereas the German tradition is to remain in darkness, with the faithful holding their lit candles throughout the Mass.
Necessary is an effective liturgical catechesis at the center of the New Evangelization to foster the immersion of the faithful in the mysteries celebrated per ritus et preces -- through the rites and prayers (cf. SC 48). The Motu Proprio of 2007, "Summorum Pontificum," offered a determinant opportunity for the revival of Gregorian chant, in those places in which it was previously practiced, as well as its insertion in contexts in which it is not yet known. It would be sad, however, if, because of the desire to understand everything, the use of Gregorian chant in the parishes were to be limited to the celebration in the "extraordinary form," thus relegating the ancient language of this chant to the history of the Church and to a symbol of polarization. Among the pastoral opportunities, it's not too much to ask that persons might have the experience of the universality of the Church at the local level, being able to sing the parts that correspond to them in Latin (cf. SC 54). This was the intention of the Fathers of the Council. With due moderation and pastoral sensitivity, this practice would be united harmonically to the rich expressions of the Catholic faith in the vernacular.
The Catholic liturgy lives "a certain crisis," and Benedict XVI wants to form a new liturgical movement that brings back more sacrality and silence in the Mass, and more attention to beauty in chant, sacred music and art. Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, 65, Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship, who, when he was bishop in Spain was called "the little Ratzinger," is the man to whom the Pope has entrusted this task. In this interview with the newspaper, the "minister" of the liturgy of Benedict XVI reveals and explains the programmes and projects
The new liturgical movement will have to discover the beauty of the liturgy. Therefore, we will open a new division in our congregation dedicated to "Art and Sacred Music" at the service of the liturgy. This will lead us to offer soon a criteria and guidelines for art, song and sacred music. As well we offer as soon as possible criteria and guidelines for preaching.
...we must devote ourselves to revive and promote a new liturgical movement, following the teaching of Benedict XVI, and revive the sense of the sacred and of mystery, putting God at the centre of everything.
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010
Posted Sunday, December 26, 2010
Posted Saturday, December 25, 2010
|In the 5199th year of the creation of the world, from the time when in the beginning God created heaven and earth; from the flood, the 2957th year; from the birth of Abraham, the 2015th year; from Moses and the going-out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the 1510th year; from the anointing of David as king, the 1032nd year; in the 65th week according to the prophecy of Daniel; in the 194th Olympiad; from the founding of the city of Rome, the 752nd year; in the 42nd year of the rule of Octavian Augustus, when the whole world was at peace, in the sixth age of the world: Jesus Christ, the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by His most merciful coming, having been conceived by the Holy Ghost, and nine months having passed since His conception was born in Bethlehem of Juda of the Virgin Mary, having become man. The Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh.||Anno a creatióne mundi, quando in princípio Deus creávit cœlum et terram, quínquies millésimo centésimo nonagésimo nono: A dilúvio autem, anno bis millésimo nongentésimo quinquagésimo séptimo: A nativitáte Abrahæ, anno bis millésimo quintodécimo: A Moyse et egréssu pópuli Israël de Ægypto, anno millésimo quingentésimo décimo: Ab unctióne David in Regem, anno millésimo trigésimo secúndo; Hebdómada sexagésima quinta, juxta Daniélis prophetíam: Olympíade centésima nonagésima quarta: Ab urbe Roma cóndita, anno septingentésimo quinquagésimo secúndo: Anno Impérii Octaviáni Augústi quadragésimo secúndo, toto Orbe in pace compósito, sexta mundi ætáte, Jesus Christus ætérnus Deus, æterníque Patris Fílius, mundum volens advéntu suo piíssimo consecráre, de Spíritu Sancto concéptus, novémque post conceptiónem decúrsis ménsibus, in Béthlehem Judæ náscitur ex María Vírgine factus Homo. Natívitas Dómini nostri Jesu Christi secúndum carnem.|
VATICAN CITY, 23 DEC 2010 (VIS) - The websites of Vatican Radio (www.radiovaticana.org) and of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (www.pccs.org), as well as the website www.pope2you.net, in close collaboration with the Vatican Television Centre (CTV) and through an agreement with Telecom Italia, will be offering a new service for the Christmas holiday period: live coverage of the liturgical celebrations presided by the Holy Father.
The Pope's celebrations - Midnight Mass on 24 December, his Christmas Message and "Urbi et Orbi" blessing at midday on 25 December, and Mass for the World Day of Peace on 1 January - will be transmitted in live audio/video linkup with commentary in six languages: Italian, French, English, German, Spanish and Portuguese. The Midnight Mass will also have commentary in Chinese, and the Mass of 1 January in Arabic.
The service has been made possible thanks to Telecom Italia's technology platform "Content Delivery Network", which enables rapid and effective distribution of multimedia content, making it accessible to computers and iPhones all over the world.