Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Architecture and Liturgical Arrangements of St. Mary Magdalen, Brighton, England

Fr. Raymond Blake of the blog Saint Mary Magdalen will be known to many readers. Recently, he had a young professional photographer in to photograph his parish church, that of St. Mary Magdalen in Brighton, England, and one image from that series particularly struck me on a variety of liturgical levels:

(Click to Enlarge)

First, it is very nice to see the Benedictine arrangement used of course; second, the use of a well proportioned altar frontal is always very good to see (though this particular picture only just shows it) given that it completes the full liturgical "vesting" of the altar -- aside from various other benefits, depending upon the situation.

As well though, I was particularly struck by the architecture of the parish, most especially the splendid gothic revival elements, most particularly the reredos that accompanied the original high altar. Do click upon the image above to get a better look of the wonderful detailing and proportions of this reredos. Various other elements of the architecture are also quite edifying.

As I noted in another article, looking at examples of good and successful sacred art can be a very important exercise in helping to ascertain what lends them a particular dignity and beauty. This will be particularly relevant in a time when more and more sanctuaries and churches are undergoing artistic "re-enchantment" after the sterility and minimalisms of recent decades.

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