Saturday, October 28, 2006

Some images of the Sarum Use

I was recently watching a DVD of the Sarum Use liturgy that was celebrated under Catholic auspices (Fr. Sean Finnegan) at Merton College, Oxford, in the late 1990's. Fortuitously, they recorded this event.

I took a few DVD stills from the DVD to show those on the NLM who I know will be interested.

I will make a few comments on some of the variations from the Roman rite, but I will not claim to be (yet) intimately knowledgeable of all the details of this use, nor how this solemn Mass might vary from a more standard Sarum use liturgy. If we have people here who are more knowledgeable, please chime in for all of our benefit, and feel free to correct anything that may need it.

The event recorded was that of Candlemas, and thus prior to the liturgy beginning was the blessing of the candles. What was interesting was to see three crucifer's (cross bearers) in the procession. If you look closely here, you can see the two crosses either side of the larger, main processional cross, carried by a crucifer wearing a tunicle -- the vestment normally worn by a subdeacon in the Roman rite:

One will also notice above another mediaeval feature. On the altar are two altar candlesticks instead of six. This seems to have been the more common practice in the mediaeval Latin liturgy. Witness to this fact are the numerous manuscript illuminations which show this arrangement.

Moving into the next photographs of the prayers at the foot of the altar, one should note as well that the albs are very mediaeval in terms of being apparelled rather than laced. The servers as well wear these apparelled albs (rather than cassock and surplice) which can be seen on the acolyte in the following image:

A unique feature as well in the above are that the schola are dressed in cope.

This further shot gives a better sense of the sanctuary. What I found interesting here is that the acolytes and crucifers still remain standing in the midst of the sanctuary for this part of the liturgy.

Above: The burse with the corporal inside are taken to the altar, led by the two acolytes.

Above: as is the case in the Rite of Braga and the Ambrosian rite (possibly others) after the consecration, at certain points of the Canon, the priest raises his arms in cruciform fashion. It is a powerful reminder of the sacrificial nature of the liturgy and as well a potent tie-in of the unity of the sacrifice of Calvary with what is taking place in the Mass.

In this photograph as well, one will note that the deacon and sub-deacon carry lit tapers. One will also note, in addition to the priest, there are 4 sacred ministers rather than 3.

In preparation for the recessional, the various ministers and servers are lined up set to be led by the verger. The verger can still be seen in Anglican worship, but this was the first I had seen the verger used in Catholic worship. It would be interesting to study further the history of the verger and whether his use was particular to Catholic England.

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