Saturday, July 04, 2020

A Recent Solemn Mass in the Rite of Lyon

This past Sunday, a solemn Mass was celebrated in the traditional Rite of Lyon at the Fraternity of St Peter’s church in that city, the Collegiate Church of St Just, for the feast of the local Patron Saint, the 2nd-century bishop and martyr Irenaeus. We have featured the Mass of Lyon a few times in the past, but this is the first time, as far as I know, that it has been done solemnly within recent memory. I personally don’t know much about the rite, and so I will limit my comments on the pictures; if I make any mistakes, or omit anything of interest, I would be grateful to any readers who can correct or add to what I write here in the combox. Further down is a picture of an interesting and absolutely unique vestment. Congratulations to the clergy of St Just for their efforts to maintain and preserve this beautiful part of the Church’s liturgical patrimony, and our thanks for their permission to reproduce these photographs.

The two acolytes who carry the candles wear full albs with the cincture, as was generally done in the Middle Ages.
Note that the columns of the church are partly or wholly decorated with red coverings for the feast day; this is not a specifically Lyonese custom, but was widely observed throughout Europe, and is still kept in some places.
When not holding something in their hands, the acolytes keep them crossed over their chest as we see here.
When the priest is at the Missal, he is accompanied only by the deacon...
while the subdeacon sits in the first stall of the choir.
A cushion is used for the Missal stand, as in the Dominican Rite.
The acolytes lay their candles down in the sanctuary in front of the altar, rather than at the credence, which in a Lyonese church is behind the main altar.
The thurifer and head of the acolytes wears a garment something like a stole called an “orfrois de tunique – the orphrey of a tunicle”, since it looks like the decorative bands of a tunicle, which in the Middle Ages was very often worn by acolytes on solemn feasts. Here he is holding the book before the priest for the silent reading of the Epistle, Gradual etc.
The deacon receives the Gospel book at the sedilia.
The corporal is much larger than a typical Roman one, and made in such a way that it can be pulled up and over the chalice, where the Roman Rite make a separate piece of the pall.
As in almost all medieval Uses, the priest stretches his hand out in the form of a Cross immediately after the Consecration.
The deacon and subdeacon recite the Confiteor from the same side.
The credence is at the back of the high altar, and itself in the form of a small altar.
I believe this photo is actually of the beginning of the Mass, when the priest and deacon and recite the Confiteor.

More recent articles:

For more articles, see the NLM archives: