Friday, August 02, 2013

Compendium of the 1961 Revision of the Pontificale Romanum - Part 11.3: The Blessing of an Image of a Saint (1595 & 1961)

My apologies to those readers who have been following this series for the interruption since mid-June. I will do my best to keep the series going to its conclusion within the next few weeks.

The blessing of an image or picture of a Saint (other than the Virgin Mary), begins with the versicles “Our help is in the name of the Lord.”, “Lord, hear my prayer.” and “The Lord be with you,” followed by this prayer.
Let us pray. Almighty and eternal God, who condemnest not that images or likenesses of Thy Saints be sculpted or painted, so that whenever we look upon them with our bodily eyes, with the eyes of memory we may mediate upon their deeds and holiness, and so imitate them, deign Thou to bless + and sancti+fy this image (or ‘statue’) unto the honor and memory of Thy blessed Apostle, (or ‘Martyr, Confessor, Bishop, Virgin’) ; and grant that whoever shall strive humbly to revere and honor before it the same Thy Apostle, (or ‘Martyr, etc.) by his (her) prayers and intercession, may obtain from Thee grace in this life, and eternal glory in the future. (long conclusion)
The bishop makes the sign of the Cross over the image twice, at the words, “bless + and sancti+fy”; after the prayer, he sprinkles it with holy water.

In the revision of 1961, the versicle “Lord, hear my prayer.” is suppressed. At the beginning of the prayer, the bishop says either ‘images’ (if he is blessing a statue) or ‘likenesses’ (if he is blessing a statue), but not both as in the earlier version. The words “and sancti+fy” are omitted, as frequently elsewhere in the 1961 revision. The prayer ends with the short conclusion.

A 6th century icon of Christ and the Egyptian martyr St. Menas, now kept in Louvre, one of the oldest icons of Saint in existence.

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