Friday, June 01, 2007

A couple of archival images from the Ambrosian rite in pre-conciliar Milan

I've had these pictures for a bit now, and am only finding the opportunity to post them now. (Digression: it seems like time has been short generally these past couple of months and I've had little time to write some needed book reviews I am sorely behind on at the moment, let alone more substantive articles for the NLM. Hopefully the summer months will afford some time.)

These two pictures were sent to me from Italy by one of our readers, and a resident expert in things Ambrosian, Nicola de Grandi. What I find interesting about these is that they capture the ancient and venerable rite at a time when it was relatively uninterrupted and unobscured by the quite unfortunate jettisoning and revision of so many ancient rites.

More than that, it captures a glimpse into the very pontifical heart and centre of the Milanese rite in a way that, for the moment, has not since been replicated.

(The Archbishop of Milan preaching)

These pictures were taken during a Pontifical Mass in the Metropolitan Cathedral.

Do take note of the mitred clergy, who aren't bishops, but rather Major Canons of the Metropolitan Chapter of Milan.

Those sitting in the lower row are Minor Canons, or Beneficiati. The clergy sitting in the lowest row are seminarians of the Metropolitan Cathedral's Seminary serving the Mass.

NLM PROJECT FOR READERS: A little challenge to our readership. If you are in or near one of the regions that had its own rite (e.g. Milan, Lyons, Braga, etc.) or likewise with the religious orders that had their own rites (Carthusian, Dominican, Carmelite, Premonstratensian, etc.) might you please make a point to inquire with their archival people to see if we can't acquire more images, or moving video, of these rites? (It shall likely mean offering to do some digital scanning, or having copies made of archival film into a format useable today.)

I think the imagery speak volumes about the great liturgical traditions of the West, and speak quite eloquently to some of the variances to be found there. It also speaks to the rites as they were prior to their near or complete loss from day to day life and practice. As such, these, I think, are almost as important to preserve as the liturgical books themselves, for they become living records of these rites.

Then, once you have found such, please, send it my way to share with the rest of the readership, for our mutual edification and learning.

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