Thursday, June 12, 2008

Another Sanctuary and Altar begins the process of re-enchantment and re-orientation

A reader -- in fact the parish priest who is implementing these changes -- sent in the following series of photos which shows the revamping of their sanctuary and altar.

Here is the altar as it formerly stood. Behind one can see the remnants of the original altar, though clearly the original altar itself had been removed and the reredos retained:

The first step the parish priest took was the re-enchanting of the altar itself:

As one can see, more than just the altar has changed -- not the least of which that enough space now exists to allow for the possibility for celebration of Mass ad orientem -- very important.

This photo above is shown while restoration work was still in progress.

After the surrounding restorations were completed, here was how it looked, prior to the use of the six altar candlesticks and large cross:

Certainly a significant improvement over the former altar, however, now look at the altar with the "Benedictine arrangement" in place, beginning the significant process of re-orienting the priest and faithful in the liturgical act, and leading us back toward our tradition of ad orientem:

The dramatic shift between this photo and the one previous serve to emphasize why this altar arrangement is a significant step towards re-orienting our liturgies when full out ad orientem might not yet be possible.

Kudos to the parish priest for taking these steps. He asked what else I might do here so a few thoughts as they might perhaps be of general use.

I'd continue to promote the use of some sort of oriental style rug leading up to the altar, to help lend to the centrality and verticality of the altar.

I'd also recommend a consideration of some altar frontals for at least the red and gold times for the same reason -- though I would promote their use generally.

As for the former reredos which sits behind, adding some additional colour and ornament to it would be of merit though this should be done in a way that ties together the altar and the reredos where possible. I would consider adding it inside the gothic designs, and I would consider finding a way to try to add some gothic stylizing and details to the large, flat white space that would have sat behind the altar itself.

Overall, very nice work.

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