Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Ceremonies for the Solemn Entrance of the Archbishop of Milan

While the 75th birthday of the present Archbishop of Milan is approaching and is becoming closer day by day, it can be of some interest for some of our readers to have some information about the Solemn Entrance of the new Archbishop of Milan in contemporary times.

Thanks to the excellent archives of Istituto Luce, it has now made possible to view, amongst a large amount of interesting historical, filmed materials, also the short video below showing the Solemn Entrance of His Excellency Giovanni Battista Montini as Archbishop of Milan, on January 6th, 1955.

As many readers may know, Montini wasn't a cardinal at that time. He received the red galero only in 1958 by hands of the new Pope John XXIII.

This video gives us a nice chance to describe the various moments of the rite of Entrance of a new Archbishop in the Archdiocese in contemporary times.

This distinction about contemporary times (i.e. at least from the second half of the 18th century) is necessary because, in previous times, ceremonies would differ.

In fact, when Emperor Joseph II forbade all religious processions inside the town, the ceremonial for the Solemn Entrance underwent several modifications from the one described in the 1619 Caeremoniale Ambrosianum.

- The new Archbishop enters the City Walls from the Porta Ticinese - the gate on the ancient road leading to the city of Pavia, the Lombard capital city during the Middle Ages - wearing the purple cassock, the purple mozzetta over the rocchetto, the purple tabarro and the green episcopal cappello. (According to the older ceremonies as codified by the Ceremoniale Ambrosianum, the new Archbishop arrived there riding a white mule).

He is received by his court and escorted by the Archiepiscopal Master of Ceremonies, Msgr. Pietro Borella.

In fact, the part of the city outside the walls (which have nowadays almost completely disappeared) weren't traditionally considered a part of the city and remained until the beginning of the 20th century a part of a different municipality called "Corpi Santi" i.e. "Holy Bodies" because the bodies of the Saints from the times of the persecutions could be found there in the high Middle Ages.

- Just beside the Porta Ticinese, he enters then the Basilica of St. Eustorgio, the Basilica Magorum, to take possession of the Archdiocese.

This Basilica, dedicated to St. Eustorgio, Bishop of Milan under Emperor Constantine the Great, was built close to the place where, as the story goes, the founder of the Milanese Church, St. Barnabas the Apostle, baptized the first Milanese Christians. The oldest Milanese baptismal font was later restored and blessed by Federico Card. Borromeo in 1673 and is still to be seen.

This Basilica is also famous because the relics of the Three Kings were kept there from the 4th century until June 10th 1164, when Emperor Friederik "Barbarossa's" Chancellor
, Rainald von Dassel, after a bloody sack, took them as war spoil to Cologne, and used them as a legitimation of the Emperor's claims over the Kingdom of Italy.

The church was also close to the Dominican convent whence St. Peter the Martyr began his last journey to martyrdom and sanctity. His earthly remains can be now venerated in the famous "Cappella Portinari", buried in the ark by Giovanni di Balduccio.

- The Archbishop exits from the Basilica wearing the cappa magna and the purple biretta to reach the Metropolitan Cathedral. Abp. Montini was the first to make his way by car.

Before the Decrees by Joseph II, the Archbishop wore the cope and the mitre at this point and he rode a white horse under a white canopy.

The older practice is still to be seen in this picture by Filippo Abbiati "Saint Charles's Solemn Entrance in Milan".

In the picture you can see, among others, beside the Archbishop, the Canons of the Metropolitan Cathedral, and the Archiepiscopal Master of Ceremonies (on the right, holding the ferula and wearing the magisterial robe), and the Duke of Albuquerque - Spanish Governor of Milan (on the left, riding a horse and wearing a ceremonial armor). The noblemen of the Confalonieri family - who shortly before swore their oath of fidelity to the Archbishop in the Basilica - are bearing by hereditary privilege the baldacchino. In the foreground, Abbiati chose to depict some of the possessed ones who - according to Giussano's chronicle - "bellowed like beasts" at the view of the 26 year old saintly Bishop.

Back to the video: Abp. Montini arrives in the piazza Duomo where a large crowd of faithful is awaiting him.

He is then welcomed by the Archpriest of the Metropolitan Chapter and by the Minor and Major Canons wearing the vestments proper of their rank. Then, just beside the doors of the Duomo, Montini wears pontifical vestments and a long procession escorts him from the doors into the sanctuary, where he prepares to celebrate the Archiepiscopal Pontifical Mass with the participation of the two Chapters of the Cathedral.

Montini was the last Archbishop to use the full ceremonial of solemn entrance into the Archdiocese, which has since lost almost all its solemnities.

Let us pray to St. Charles that the Entrance of the new Archbishop of Milan may open also the doors of our Diocese to the new fresh air of liturgical restoration fostered by the Holy Father, and to the full implementation of the Motu Proprio "Summorum Pontificum" also for the Ambrosian Rite faithful!

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