Saturday, February 23, 2008

13th-century Liturgical Ministers

Liturgical ministers

Another piece of liturgical interest from the Lateran, this time from the beautiful 13th-century cloister. This is a fragment of the tomb of the notary Riccardo Annibaldi, c.1289 and it was sculpted by Arnolfo di Cambio who may have introduced the French Gothic style to Rome. Among his other great works is the baldachino at San Paolo fuori la mura and Sta Cecilia in Trastevere.

In the scuplture above, we see sacred ministers apparently at the funeral Mass of Annibaldi. In the forefront, a boy, vested in surplice, bears a Missal on his head which the bishop reads from. The bishop is dressed in an apparelled alb and a voluminous chasuble. Behind him is someone in an apparelled alb and cope, holding the mitre and the crozier (only the shaft has survived). Behind that figure is a deacon in apparelled alb and with just the crossed stole, holding the aspergillum and holy water. Following is someone in a surplice holding aloft a thurible which he seems to be peering into and sniffing tentatively, or stoking the coals by blowing on them. Finally there is the acolyte, again vested in surplice, and holding a torch (only the bottom of this survives).

Altogether, an interesting 'snapshot' of medieval liturgical vesture and practice.

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