« November 2012 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile

E-mail me:

Please visit
my main
web page
to see my
work as an

24 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. After the Stole put on, the Bishop is arrayed in the Tunic, which is otherwise called Subtile, and in the Law, Poderes, that is, the garment which reacheth unto the feet. And this signifieth Perseverance. Thus Joseph is described as having worn such a garment amongst his brethren. For when the other virtues run in the race, Perseverance only receiveth the prize, as it is written, HE THAT PERSEVERETH UNTO THE END, THE SAME SHALL BE SAVED; and One teacheth, BE THOU FAITHFUL UNTO DEATH, AND I WILL GIVE THEE A CROWN OF LIFE. Again, he putteth on the Tunic after the Albe, because by the Albe is figured the chastening of the flesh, while the Tunic is the symbol of those inner virtues, which the perfect need alway to have. The Tunic is not girded, because by reason of its shape it hindereth not the steps: so also the virtues that are set forth by it afford a free walk in the contemplation of God. Yet is the Albe girded, as I have said in the chapter which treateth of the Girdle.

2. In the Old Testament there were two tunics, the tunic of fine linen, and the blue tunic. And at this day also certain Bishops use two Tunics, to show that it beseemeth them to have knowledge of both Testaments, that they may know how to bring out of the Lord's treasure things new and old; or that they may shew themselves that they are both Deacons and Priests. Besides, each of the Tunics doth bear his own proper signification. The white Tunic, which is of fine linen, signifieth Chastity, as may be gathered from what hath been said in the chapter of the Albe. This former Tunic, too, if it be of silk, denoteth Chastity and Humility; for silk taketh its beginning from worms, which are created without intercourse.

3. The second Tunic ought to be blue, as in olden days it was of the colour of the jacinth, which followeth in its hue the sereneness of the sky; wherefore it is a figure of the Saints with their heavenly thoughts and lives, and of celestial thought and conversation. For as that precious stone, the jacinth, doth change his colour with the changes of the sky, being bright when the firmament is bright, and pale beneath the darkling heaven; even so in spiritual figure ought the Bishop to REJOICE WITH THEM THAT DO REJOICE, AND WEEP WITH THEM THAT WEEP. Yet if the Tunic be of any other colour, it beareth accordingly some other meaning.

4. And the Bishop weareth the one Tunic beneath the other, to shew that as that which is hid may not be seen of the people, but is known to the clergy alone, so also that measure of lofty virtues pictured by it, which the perfect man ought ever to possess, may not be open to the eyes of all, but only unto the higher orders, and unto them that are perfect.

5. Furthermore, as touching that which agreeth unto the Head, even Christ, this Vestment in the ancient Priesthood was of blue, and had for its fringe pomegranates and golden bells hanging from its lower hem, that the High Priest might walk in all music; as shall be said in the chapter of the Vestments of the Law. And this giveth an hint of the heavenly doctrine of the Christ, Whereof all have taken knowledge; unto Whom it was said by the Prophet, O THOU WHO TELLEST GOOD TIDINGS TO SION, GET THEE UP INTO THE HIGH MOUNTAIN.

More than all, however, had the Weaver of the doctrine of the Gospel this Tunic, the Wisdom of God, Jesus Christ, and gave it unto His Apostles; for ALL THINGS, said He, WHICH I HAVE HEARD OF MY FATHER, I HAVE MADE KNOWN UNTO YOU. This also was the signification of that Tunic of the Lord, which the soldiers would not rend, for that it was WITHOUT SEAM, WOVEN FROM THE TOP THROUGHOUT - as though they thought the Lord's loss would be great; the which sheweth how great a loss they cause who strive to rend with their heresies the doctrines of the Gospel.

The Subdeacon, also, weareth the Tunic, as shall be shewn in the following chapter.

23 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. As touching the Undergirdle, I will add nought further to such as I have already said in the treating of the Zone or Girdle, in the Proeme of this Book.

The Bishop of Rome after the Albe and Girdle putteth on the Orale, a Vestment of fine stuff, which after the manner of a veil he placeth upon his head, and foldeth it over his shoulders and before his breast; following the use of the Priest of the Law, who after the broidered coat and girdle did put on the ephod or superhumeral, whose place the Amice doth now take.

The aforesaid Bishop putteth on also a certain Cross, fastened to a fine chain, which he hangeth around his neck, disposing the Cross before his breast. For the High priest of the Law did wear a golden plate upon his forehead, in the stead of which this High Priest, the Bishop, doth wear the Cross upon his breast; and so the golden plate yieldeth place unto the Sign of the Cross. For the mystery which the golden plate enshrined in its Four Letters, hath been set forth in four arms by the Sign of the Cross; as saith the Apostle, THAT YE MAY BE ABLE TO COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS WHAT IS THE BREADTH, AND LENGTH, AND DEPTH, AND HEIGHT. Wherefore that holy thing which he then did bear in the plate upon his brow, his successor doth now hide within his heart; for WITH THE HEART MAN BELIEVETH UNTO RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND WITH THE MOUTH CONFESSION IS MADE UNTO SALVATION. And according to Hierome, 'the Blood of the Gospel is more precious than the gold of the Law.' He placeth the Cross before his breast, again, for the shewing forth of that which the Apostle saith, GLORIFY GOD AND BEAR HIM IN YOUR BODY. And when he putteth the Cross on himself, and when he taketh it off, he kisseth it, for that he doth believe and confess Christ's Passion, whereof it is the sign, and unto whose representation in the Office of the Mass he maketh him ready.

22 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. In the foregoing we have spoken of the six Vestments common to both Bishops and Priests. It now remaineth to treat of the nine that are peculiar to the Bishop. And first let us consider the Buskins and Sandals.

The vesting of the feet taketh not its beginning from Aaron's line of Priests, for they lived in Jewry, and therefore had no need thereof; but from the Apostles, unto whom it was said, GO YE AND TEACH ALL NATIONS. Unless indeed one might say that the Buskins and Sandals take the place of the breeches of the ancient Priest.

2. The Bishop, then, being about to celebrate, while the five appointed Psalms are said, putteth on the Buskins and Sandals, the PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. These are they which for beauty the Prophet did laud, saying, HOW BEAUTIFUL ARE THE FEET OF THEM THAT BRING GOOD TIDINGS OF PEACE, THAT PUBLISH GOOD TIDINGS OF GOOD! and the Apostle, saying unto the Ephesians, HAVING YOUR FEET SHOD WITH THE PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE. And in the Gospel we read that the Lord sent His disciples forth shod with sandals - shod indeed, that is, with the PREPARATION OF THE GOSPEL OF PEACE; for if they had not been thus shod, how could they have trodden upon serpents and scorpions?

3. Let Bishops take thought, therefore, why they are thus shod, and let them copy the example of those, whose sandals they copy. For the feet are a fit type of the affections; wherefore they ought to have sandals, so to speak, upon their affections and desires, that they be not stained with the dust of things earthly or temporal.

4. But before the Sandals are put on the feet, they are clad in Buskins, reaching so far as the knee and there girt round, for that the preacher ought to MAKE STRAIGHT PATHS FOR HIS FEET, AND CONFIRM THE FEEBLE KNEES; for HE THAT SHALL DO AND TEACH THESE COMMANDMENTS, THE SAME SHALL BE CALLED THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. And the Buskins, being of blue, the colour of the firmament, denote that his feet - that is, his affections - must be heavenly, and strong, that he halt not; but that he may SAY TO THEM THAT ARE OF A FEARFUL HEART, BE STRONG.

5. After these, his feet are vested in the Sandals, which are so called from the plant of that name, or from sandarach, wherewith they are coloured. Now these have an entire sole underneath, but on top there is latticed hide; because the steps of the Preacher ought to be guarded from beneath, lest they be defiled with earthly things, as saith the Lord, SHAKE OFF THE DUST OF YOUR FEET; but they must be open above, that they may be unveiled unto the knowledge of heavenly mysteries, according unto that of the Psalmist, OPEN THOU MINE EYES, THAT I MAY SEE THE WONDROUS THINGS OF THE LAW. They are open on the top, again, because we ought to have hearts ever uplifted unto God, and our minds' eyes open unto those things which be above: and solid beneath, because we must keep a mind impervious amid earthly things, and seek the blessing, not of Esau, which is earthly, but of Jacob, which is in the heavens.

6. The Sandals again, being open in certain places and closed in others, signify that the preaching of the Gospel ought neither to be revealed unto all, nor hid from all, as it is written, UNTO YOU IT IS GIVEN TO KNOW THE MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM OF GOD, BUT UNTO OTHERS IN PARABLES. And GIVE NOT THAT WHICH IS HOLY UNTO THE DOGS, NEITHER CAST YE YOUR PEARLS BEFORE SWINE.

7. The inner part of the Sandals is sometimes made of white leather, for it needeth to have a clean intention, and a conscience pure before God; and without there is a dark appearance, because the life of the preacher seemeth dark and mean in worldly eyes, by reason of the trials of this world. Sometimes too they are red, to signify the spirit of martyrdom; and at other times they are variegated with divers colours, the manifold virtues wherewith we need to be adorned.

8. A latchet, which is separate from the leather, goeth up over the foot, and figureth the tongues of those who bear good testimony unto the preacher, but who are nevertheless separate in a manner from the conversation of spiritual men. In the second place, this latchet is itself the tongue of the spiritual, which did induct the preacher into the office of preaching. Thirdly, it denoteth also the tongue of the preacher himself. The line which runneth from this latchet through the midst of the Sandal unto the end thereof, is Evangelical perfection; and the lines which come forth from either side, and which at the end of the Sandal run into the middle line and there have an end, are a figure of the Law and the Prophets, which be ratified in the Gospel, and there find the end of their being. The upper part of the Sandal, into which the foot is placed, is joined together with divers strings, that its two sides slip not away nor be parted, coming unfastened the one from the other; and this is to show that the Preacher ought to bind himself with divers virtues, or truths of Scripture, that his inner part may not be disjoined from that which shineth without, in the sight of the Most High. Also the very fastening of the Sandals signifieth that the prelate, who hath to go hither and thither, ought to make sure his mind's steps, the while he goeth to and fro amid the throng.

9. The drawing of the thongs this way and that with the hands, in binding and making fast the Sandals, signifieth that the Priest ought to walk with so firm a step, that he may be a burthen unto none nor faint in the way of his ministry. For it is in vain if he run fast who fainteth or ever he reacheth the goal; inasmuch as the Sandals do mystically represent the race of the Preacher. But sometimes they are not fastened, for that Christ's Incarnation is in some measure open unto human understanding, as we may understand the being wrapt in garments, or placed in an enclosure. Sometimes, again, the cost of the thongs is over and above that of the Sandals, as it is written, WHATSOEVER THOU SPENDEST MORE, WHEN I COME AGAIN I WILL REPAY THEE.

It may also be said that The Buskins are a type of that washing, of which the Lord said, HE THAT IS BATHED NEEDETH NOT SAVE TO WASH HIS FEET. But, for that cleanness of heart sufficeth not without patience in persecution, they have also stripes of red, which are a type of martyrdom. Thus he that hath cleanness in his heart, and patience, an it so needeth, in his will, shall come secure unto the office of preaching, which the apostolic Sandals signify.

10. Further, as touching that which agreeth unto the Head, even Christ, the Sandals have another meaning. The Bishop, who in the service of the Altar representeth the Person of Christ his Head, Whose member he is; the while he putteth the Sandals on his feet, doth suggest the Lord putting on those Sandals of the Incarnation, whereof He saith in the Psalms, OVER EDOM WILL I CAST OUT MY SHOE, that is, 'among the nations will I make known my Incarnation.' For the Godhead came unto us as it were sandalled, that for us the Son of God might discharge the Priestly office. And by the latchets wherewith the Sandals are fastened upon the feet, we do understand that same mystery which John the Baptist saw in the sandal-strings, when he said, WHOSE SHOE'S LATCHET I AM NOT WORTHY TO UNLOOSE: that is, the unspeakable union and indissoluble bond of flesh whereby the Godhead of the Word did join itself with humanity of ours. Moreover, the feet are united with the Sandals by the mediation of the Buskins, which are worn between; and this pictureth the union of the Human Soul with the Godhead, through the mean of Flesh. For as the foot beareth up the body, even so the Godhead governeth the world. Thus the Psalmist saith, FALL DOWN BEFORE HIS FOOTSTOOL, FOR HE IS HOLY.

11. According to a decree of Gregory, Deacons may not wear 'compagni', that is, Sandals, nor 'maniples', that is, episcopal shoes, without special licence of the Apostolic See. Formerly they did wear these, because it was their duty to go hither and thither in attendance. But nowadays neither Deacons nor Priests wear these Vestments, but Bishops only, that by this diversity of their Sandals the distinction of their office may be marked; and beside, they have to go abroad amongst the people, whereas it is the duty of the Priest to offer the sacrifices of the Lord. Yet the clerics of the Roman Church, by the indulgence of Constantine, Emperor, might wear shoes with socks of white linen.

21 November 2012


The Golden Legend of James of Voragine, as Englished by William Caxton:
And then when she had accomplished the time of three years, and had left sucking, they brough her to the temple with offerings. And there was about the temple, after the fifteen psalms of degrees, fifteen steps or grees to ascend up to the temple, because the temple was high set. And no body might go to the altar of sacrifices that was without, but by the degrees. And then our Lady was set on the lowest step, and mounted up without any help as she had been of perfect age, and when they had performed their offering, they left their daughter in the temple with the other virgins, and they returned into their place. And the Virgin Mary profited every day in all holiness, and was visited daily of angels, and had every day divine visions.
The sequence for the feast contains an acrostic: the first letters of each group of three lines spell Ave Maria benedico te. Amen.

Altissima providente
Cuncta recte disponente
Dei sapientia:

Vno nexu coniugatis
Ioachim et Anna, gratis
Iuga sunt sterilia.

Ex cordis affectu toto
Domino fideli voto
Se strinxerunt pariter:

Mox si prolem illis dare
Dignetur, hanc dedicare
In templo perenniter.

Angelus apparuit
Lucidus, qui docuit
Exaudita vota:
Regis summi gratia
Ut his detur filia
Gratiosa tota.

In utero consecrata,
Miro modo generata,
Gignet mirabilius:

Altissimi patris natum
Virgo manens, qui reatum
Mundi tollet gratius.

Bencdicta virgo nata
Teinplo trina praesentata
It ter quinis gradibus:

Erecta velox ascendit
Et uterque parens tendit
Se ornando vestibus.

Nova fulsit gloria
Templum, dum eximia
Virgo praesentatur:

Edocta divinitus,
Visitata coelitus,
Angelis laetatur.

Dum ut nubant iubet multis,
Princeps puellis adultis,
Prinio virgo renuit:

Ipsani namque devovere
Parentes ipsa manere
Virgo voto statuit.

Consultus Deus responsum
Dat, ut virgo sumat sponsum,
Quem pandet flos editus:

Ostensus Ioseph puellam
Ad parentum duxit cellam,
Nuptiis sollicitus.

Tunc Gabriel ad virginem
Ferens conceptus ordinem

Erudita stat tacita,
Verba quae sint insolita

At cum ille tradidit
Modum, virgo credidit,
Sicque sacro flamine

Mox verbum concipitur,
Et quod nusquam clauditur
Conditur in virgine.

Ecce virgo singularis,
Quanta laude sublimaris,
Quanta fulges gloria:

Nos ergo sic tuearis,
Ut fructu, quo gloriaris,
Fruamur in patria.

Englished by the Benedictines of Stanbrook:
The Wisdom of God with inscrutable providence, disposeth all things rightly: Joachim and Anna are united in wedlock, but their union is sterile.

With all the heart's affection they together bind themselves by inviolable vow to the Lord: that if He deign to give them offspring, they without delay will consecrate it to Him for ever in the temple.

A bright angel appears, and tells them their prayers are heard, and by the grace of the most high King, a daughter shall be given them, full of grace.

Holy even in her conception, she is born in a wondrous manner, yet in a way more wondrous still will she give birth, remaining a virgin, to the Son of the most high Father, when he comes to freely cancel the guilt of the world.

She is born then, that blessed Virgin, and at the age of three years is presented in the temple; swift and erect, adorned with her beautiful robe, she ascends the fifteen steps, beneath her parents' gaze.

The temple shines with a new glory, when this august Virgin is presented: there she is taught by God, is visited by the Angels from heaven, and rejoices with them.

When the chief priest bids the maidens of adult age prepare for marriage, the Virgin at first refuses; for her parents have devoted her to God, and she herself has vowed to remain a virgin.

God, being consulted, answers that the virgin shall take him for her spouse whom a miraculous flower shall designate; Joseph thus chosen weds the maiden and leads her to his home.

Then Gabriel is sent to her, telling her how she is to become a mother; but the prudent Virgin stands silent, pondering over the strangeness of the message.

But when he explains how this shall be, she believes him; and thus by the Holy Spirit the Word is conceived, and He whom no space can contain is concelaed in the Virgin's bosom.

O peerless maiden, how dost thou surpass all praise in thy dazzling glory! Protect us now, that in our fatherland we may enjoy thy fruit, whereby thou art so honoured. Amen.

20 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. Lastly, over all the Vestments the Priest putteth on the Chasuble, which is being interpreted a 'little cottage'. It is called by the Greeks the planet, from plane, a wandering, for that its border wandereth wide as it is raised over the arms, signifying charity, without which the Priest is as a SOUNDING BRASS, OR AS A TINKLING CYMBAL. For as charity covereth THE MULTITUDE OF SINS, and containeth all the commandments of the Law and the Prophets, and is called by the Apostle, THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW; so also this Vestment wandereth over all, and doth enclose and contain all other Vestments within itself.

2. Of charity also the Apostle saith, YET SHOW I UNTO YOU A MORE EXCELLENT WAY. THOUGH I SPEAK WITH THE TONGUES OF MEN AND OF ANGELS, AND HAVE NOT CHARITY, I AM NOTHING. And again, THOUGH I HAVE ALL FAITH, SO THAT I COULD REMOVE MOUNTAINS, AND HAVE NOT CHARITY, I AM NOTHING. The Chasuble, moreover, is the wedding-garment spoken of by the Lord in the Gospel, FRIEND, HOW CAMEST THOU IN HITHER, NOT HAVING ON A WEDDING-GARMENT? Without this, the Priest may never discharge his office, for it beseemeth him ever to abide in the bond of charity.

The Amice goeth round the mouth of the Chasuble, which meaneth that good works ought always to have charity for their source and end. For THE END OF THE COMMANDMENT IS CHARITY OF A PURE HEART, AND OF A GOOD CONSCIENCE, AND OF FAITH UNFEIGNED. And the dividing of the Chasuble into two parts, hack and fore, signifieth the two arms of charity, wherewith it reacheth unto God, and to thy neighbour, as in that scripture, THOU SHALT LOVE THE LORD THY GOD, AND THY NEIGHBOUR AS THYSELF; ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS HANG ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS. Again, the wideness of the Chasuble is a figure of the breadth of charity, which reacheth even as far as our enemies; whence it is written, THY COMMANDMENT IS EXCEEDING BROAD.

3. The Chasuble hath two folds, right and left; these be the two precepts of charity, the love of God, and the love of his neighbour. Also it is folded double across the breast, which meaneth the heart, and between the shoulders, which are good works; in these parts, I say, the Chasuble is made to double upon itself, for if we ought so to show good deeds unto our neighbour outwardly, that we may keep the same within, whole in the heart before God. For we need to have charity in our heart, and in our work; both within and without. It is doubled before the breast, again, because by charity are gotten goodwill and holy thought; and between the shoulders, because by charity are borne untoward dealings of neighbours and adversaries. And it is lifted up at the arms, as when we work the good works of love: at the right arm, as when we DO GOOD UNTO THEM WHO ARE OF THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH; and at the left, as when our righteous dealings reach even unto our enemies.

4. Furthermore, over the arms it maketh three folds; on the right arm, as when we succor the faithful, monks, clergy, and laity; and on the left, as when we minister to the needs of unbelievers, that is, bad Christians, Jews, and paynim. For well are works of righteousness symbolised by the Chasuble, according unto this scripture, LET THY PRIESTS BE CLOTHED WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS. The Priest may not put off his Chasuble while he performeth his office; for the Lord commandeth in the twenty-first chapter of Leviticus, that HE SHALL NOT GO OUT OF THE SANCTUARY, that is, out of holy things or commandments.

Further, as touching that which agreeth unto the Head, even Christ, the Chasuble of the Great Priest is the Catholic Church, concerning which the Apostle saith, AS MANY OF YOU AS HAVE BEEN BAPTISED INTO CHRIST HAVE PUT ON CHRIST. This is that Vestment of Aaron, unto whose skirt the ointment ran down: IT RAN DOWN FROM HIS HEAD UNTO HIS BEARD, AND FROM HIS BEARD UNTO THE SKIRTS OF HIS CLOTHING IT RAN DOWN. For OF THE FULNESS OF HIS SPIRIT HAVE WE ALL RECEIVED, first the Apostles, then they that are come after them.

5. The Chasuble is of one piece, and whole, and is hemmed on every side, which signifieth the unity and wholeness of the Faith. Yet when the Priest spreadeth out his hands, it is in a manner divided in two parts, back and fore; and this denoteth the ancient Church, which went before the Passion of Christ, and the new, which followeth it; for THE MULTITUDES THAT WENT BEFORE, AND THAT FOLLOWED, CRIED, SAYING, HOSANNA TO THE SON OF DAVID: BLESSED IS HE THAT COMETH IN THE NAME OF THE LORD.

This Vestment representeth also the purple robe with which the soldiers encompassed Christ, as saith John in the nineteenth chapter.

19 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. Forasmuch as there is a weariness which often creepeth upon minds well disposed and had in hand for Divine Worship, rendering them slumbrous with a kind of sluggishness, as saith the Psalmist, MY SOUL MELTETH AWAY FOR VERY HEAVINESS; therefore in the left hand of the minister who approacheth unto the service of the Altar is placed a Maniple, which is also called a Sudarium; as that he may wipe away the sweats of his mind and shake off his heart's heaviness, keeping the watch of good works and driving weariness and slumber from him. For the Maniple is a figure of good works and watchfulness, whereof the Lord saith, WATCH, FOR YE KNOW NOT THE HOUR WHEREIN THE SON OF MAN COMETH; and the Spouse in the Canticles, I SLEEP, BUT MINE HEART WAKETH. As a Sudarium it also denoteth penitence, wherewith the stain of daily indulgence and the weariness of worldly life are wiped away; as it is said, MY SOUL MELTETH AWAY FOR VERY HEAVINESS; for the knowledge of sins, and the weakness of the flesh, are a weariness unto the soul.

The Maniple signifieth also the reward of future blessings. Thus in certain places they wear this Vestment, whose name signifieth also a sheaf, on Festivals whensoever Albes are used, to show that in life each one shall receive his due reward; for THEY SHALL COME AGAIN WITH JOY, BRINGING THEIR SHEAVES WITH THEM.

The Sudarium of the Subdeacon is made greater than that of the Priest, for where there is greater transgression, there is required more fruit of repentance. But of the Sudarium I will speak again.

2. The Ministers wear the maniple upon the left arm, to show that they must be bound up as touching earthly things, but untrammeled unto heavenly. They of old were not thus bound, for they served God, not only for spiritual, but also for temporal ends. But we in this life, whereof the left hand is a type, do undergo the irksomeness as it were of much sweating, that is, of pleasure, and other excesses of the mind. The Maniple, hanging upon the left arm, denoteth also the faith, which in this life we must have.

3. The use of the Maniple was not taken from Aaron, but from the ancient Fathers of the Church; as it is written in the Martyrology of Bede, that Arsenius did ever a kerchief in his bosom or his hand, to wipe away the abundance of his tears. the holy Fathers also, while they handled the sacred things and celebrated the Sacraments, had little napkins or handkerchiefs on their hands, sometimes to wipe their hands, and sometimes for covering or reverently handling the things of God.

4. As touching that which agreeth unto the Head, even Christ, the wearing of the Maniple on the left hand denoteth this, that Christ won His Prize while in the way; for, as I have said, the Maniple signifieth a prize, as in that Scripture, THEY SHALL COME AGAIN WITH JOY, BRINGING THEIR SHEAVES WITH THEM; and the left hand is this present life, as it is written, HIS LEFT HAND IS UNDER MY HEAD, AND HIS RIGHT HAND DOTH EMBRACE ME. For Christ did enjoy His reward at one and the same time that He was earning it; He enjoyed it in His own land, and did merit it on His way thither, compassing His prize the while He ran his course, in that He was at once in His native land and on the way to it: as he said, NO MAN HATH ASCENDED UP TO HEAVEN, BUT HE THAT CAME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, EVEN THE SON OF MAN WHICH IS IN HEAVEN.

5. The Maniple is also a figure of the rope with which Jesus was bound, after that He was taken by the Jews, as saith Saint John, THEY TOOK HIM, AND BOUND HIM.

This vestment is wont to be put upon the Holy Father after the Chasuble, and there be many Bishops beside, who observe this.

6. It is to be noted, that the Deacon and Subdeacon, in assisting the Bishop to put on the Sacred Vestments, wear not the Maniple; first, that they may do their parts with the more ease and freedom; and secondly because in the discharge of such a duty they ought not to look for temporal guerdon; which latter is one of the meanings of the Maniple, as I have shown from that of the Psalmist, THAY SHALL COME AGAIN WITH JOY, BRINGING THEIR SHEAVES WITH THEM. And while the Bishop putteth the Vestments on and off, the Deacon standeth at his right, and the Subdeacon at his left; for the Deacon, by virtue of his Order, taketh that mightier and higher place than the Subdeacon, which is signified by the right hand.

18 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. After the Girdle the Priest doth put upon his neck the Orarium, or Stole, which is a type of the light yoke of Christ, or of the yoke of His precepts, to show that he hath taken the Lord's yoke upon him. This he doth kiss in putting it on and off, to mark the consent and desire wherewith he submitteth himself to that yoke. And it falleth down from the neck before, adorning both the right side and the left; for BY THE ARMOUR OF RIGHTEOUSNESS ON THE RIGHT HAND AND ON THE LEFT, that is, in weal and woe, the Priest ought to be armed, that he be neither broken by misfortunes nor lifted up by well-being. Wherefore when the Priest receiveth the Stole in Holy Order, the Bishop saith unto him, 'Receive the yoke of God, FOR HIS YOKE IS SWEET, AND HIS BURTHEN IS LIGHT;' that is, sweet in well-being, and in misfortune light.

2. The Stole reacheth down to the knees, which are bent by us as showing that we must be humble and gentle of heart. It signifieth also patience, whereof it is written, YE HAVE NEED OF PATIENCE, THAT YE MIGHT RECEIVE THE PROMISE; and again, IN YOUR PATIENCE YE SHALL POSSESS YOUR SOULS. Hence it ariseth that the Stole is tied in certain knots on the right and on the left, with the Zone or Girdle, for virtue doth company with virtue and succoreth it, lest by some impulse temptation be stirred up; which showeth also that both in things good and in things evil the yoke of Christ ought patiently to be borne, in the bond of charity. But unto the foregoing some Bishops do add these words, 'May the Lord clothe thee with the Stole of innocence'; and this hath respect unto the Stole in its olden shape, which was typical of innocence.

3. Again, the Stole is crossed over from the left shoulder of the Priest unto his right side, while he is ordained, for obedience, taking its beginning from the active life through the love of his neighbour, doth pass over into the contemplative life through the love of God. The length of the Stole meaneth perseverance, and its two ends hanging down are prudence and temperance; thus the Apostle saith unto Titus, LET US LIVE SOBERLY, RIGHTEOUSLY, AND GODLY, IN THIS PRESENT WORLD. But according to a decree of the Council of Braga, the Priest ought with one and the same Stole, disposing it equally round his neck and both his shoulders, to trace and make ready on his breast the sign of the Cross, as one who is bidden to live between good and evil fortunes, yet is not dismayed; that men may ever mark him surrounded with the adornment of virtue upon either shoulder. And whoso shall do otherwise, saith the decree, he shall be duly liable to excommunication. Unless indeed one might deem this decree to have been repealed by the general custom of the Church to the contrary; for it is not everywhere that the two arms of the Stole are thus disposed upon the breast in the form of the cross. He beareth, then, the Cross on his breast, the while in his heart he taketh pattern by the Passion of Christ, Whose servant he is.

4. The Stole, as I have said, is at once a yoke and a burthen. It is a yoke, that is, unto the Priest, and a burthen unto the Deacon; and by reason of this the Priest weareth it around his neck, but the Deacon over his left shoulder. For on the neck a yoke is work, but a burthen is carried on the shoulder. And if thou read in Leviticus, thou wilt see that the Levites only were appointed unto the bearing of the burthens. Unto the Deacon the Stole signifieth also a yoke, as I have shewn in another Book. And it is placed upon his left shoulder, because it is meet that temporal things should be subject unto things spiritual; or else because it behoveth the right shoulder of the Deacon to be unencumbered, to the end that he may go hither and thither the more freely in the service of the Priest; whereof also I have already treated, in that place aforesaid.

5. It is girt round at the loins, that the Priest may be strong and active against the onslaughts of lust. But sometimes its forepart is folded over the left arm only; and this is drawn from the Priests of the Law, who while they sacrificed used to turn back the ends of the girdle over their shoulders. But upon the Bishop or Priest it falleth down before on either side evenly, because Christ, Whose likeness they bear, and Who kept an even mind in weal and woe - which are denoted by left and right - did desire to lead the dwellers of the earth unto heavenly things, and did ever bear this thought before the eyes of His mind.

6. The Stole is also called Orarium, the Praying-Vestment; because, whereas it is lawful to baptise, to confirm, and to do many other things which stand in prayer, without the other vestments, yet without the Stole it is lawful to do none of these things, save when driven by urgent need. At the Council of Tribur it was appointed that Priests should not walk, save when vested with the Stole.

It is to be noted, that the Stole was originally a white garment flowing down to the feet, such as the Patriarchs wore before the Law. This was put on by firstborn sons when they received their father's blessing; on which occasions they offered victims unto God, as though they had been Priests. But when the Albe began to be worn, the Stole was altered into the form of a collar. For by the first Stole was understood innocence, which was the estate of the first man. But when he lost his innocence through sin, it needed that he should recover it as it were through the Fatted Calf. It remaineth, then, that we, who fell through disobedience, should by obedience rise up again; wherefore we do rightly bow our necks unto the collar of obedience, that we may win back the robe of innocence. For by the Stole which now we wear, we do accept the obedience of the Gospel of the Crucified.

7. As touching that which agreeth unto the Head, even Christ, the Stole, as lying over the Amice on the Priest's neck, doth signify that obedience and servitude which the Lord of all things underwent in order to the salvation of His own. For He, BEING IN THE FORM OF A GOD, THOUGHT IT NOT ROBBERY TO BE EQUAL WITH GOD; BUT MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION, AND TOOK UPON HIM THE FORM OF A SERVANT, AND BECAME OBEDIENT UNTO DEATH, EVEN THE DEATH OF THE CROSS. Yet did He neither inherit originally, nor commit actually, aught worthy of death.

The Stole is also a figure of the band, wherewith Jesus was tied to the column.

8. It hath been appointed in the Canons, that Subdeacons, Readers, and Singing-Men may not wear Stoles.

17 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. Now the Albe must be girded around the loins of the Priest or Bishop with a Zone or Girdle, called in the Law and by the Greeks balteus, lest it flow down and hinder his steps; that no motives may provoke him to relax his chasteness, whereof the Albe is a type. For the Girdle doth signify continence, as it is written, LET YOUR LOINS BE GIRDED ABOUT, AND YOUR LAMPS BURNING IN YOUR HANDS; for that in the loins lust reigneth, as the Lord sheweth, speaking of the devil, HIS STRENGTH IS IN HIS LOINS, AND HIS FORCE IS IN THE NAVEL OF HIS BELLY.

2. On the left side of the Bishop there hangeth down from the Girdle a two-fold Undergirdle, because there be two things whereby Chastity is made strong, and without which it is hardly preserved, to wit, Prayer and Fasting. Thus the Lord saith, THIS KIND GOETH NOT OUT, BUT BY PRAYER AND FASTING.

3. With Continence, therefore, ought the loins to be girded, and under-girded with Abstinence; wherefore the Apostle, STAND HAVING YOUR LOINS GIRT ABOUT WITH TRUTH. But the Undergirdle, which is called otherwise Perizona or Succingulum, was not found among the Vestments of the Law. For though the Priests of the Law, being girded, must not come at their wives in the time of sacrifice, yet at other times they were free in this matter. But nowadays one girdle is added, for the ministers of to-day must needs have continence, and therefore they must be not only girded, but also under-girded.

4. Wherefore the Undergirdle is twofold, to denote a two-fold chastity: namely, of the mind, as the Girdle, and of the body, as the Undergirdle signifieth. And this latter hangeth, as I have said, from the left side; for as the right is mightier than the left, so is chastity of mind more potent than chastity of body. Wherefore Saint Gregory saith, 'We gird our loins, when we restrain the lust of the flesh through continence.

5. The Girdle doth also fitly designate temperance. (Of the Undergirdle I have spoken also in the Proeme of this Book.) And mark that (as hath been already said) the breast and throat are but loosely held bound by the Amice, because their motions are not under our power. Elias did sooner shut up heaven when he prayed that it might not rain, than his own wrath, when he desired vengeance for the death of the prophets. The tongue, too, dwelleth in moisture and dampness, and is made easily to slip, even as the Prince of the Apostles did at the word of a damsel deny his Master. But by the Girdle the reins are bound strongly and tightly, that we may buffet the body and bring it into servitude, and may bridle the motions of lust.

6. As touching that which agreeth unto the Head, even Christ, the priestly Girdle is a figure of that whereof the Apostle John speaketh: AND I TURNED, AND SAW ONE LIKE UNTO THE SON OF MAN, GIRT ABOUT THE PAPS WITH A GOLDEN GIRDLE. By a 'golden girdle' is intended the perfect love of Christ, called by the Apostle the LOVE OF CHRIST WHICH PASSETH KNOWLEDGE, burning within the heart, and shining forth in works. And its Undergirdle doth represent that which Esaias did prophecy, speaking of Christ, AND RIGHTEOUSNESS SHALL BE THE GIRDLE OF HIS LOINS, AND FAITHFULNESS THE GIRDLE OF HIS REINS. For again, THE RIGHTEOUS LORD LOVETH RIGHTEOUSNESS: HIS COUNTENANCE WILL BEHOLD THE THING THAT IS JUST. And, THE LORD IS RIGHTEOUS IN ALL HIS WORKS. The two ends of it are the two natural precepts of the righteousness which Christ wrought and taught, to wit, 'Do not unto others as ye would not have them do unto you, but as ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also unto them.' It doth therefore represent Righteousness, having two arms joined tightly together, that is, to refuse evil and to do good.

The Girdle signifieth also the scourge, with which Pilate did scourge Jesus.

16 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. After the Amice the Priest putteth on him a shift called the Albe; and this, being exactly fitted to all the limbs of the body, doth show that there must be nought of excess or looseness in the life of the Priest, or in his members. By its whiteness it doth represent purity; for it is written, LET THY GARMENTS BE ALWAYS WHITE; and it is made of byssus, or fine linen, for it is written that FINE LINEN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SAINTS.

2. Now byssus is Egyptian linen. And even as linen, or byssus, doth win by cunning, being beaten with many blows, that whiteness which by nature it hath not; so also man's flesh, being lashed with many stripes in the exercise of good works, hath by grace that pureness allotted unto it which by nature it cannot have. The Priest therefore, according unto the Apostle, must BUFFET HIS BODY, AND BRING IT INTO SUBJECTION, LEST THAT BY ANY MEANS, WHEN HE HATH PREACHED TO OTHERS, HIMSELF SHOULD BE A CASTAWAY.

3. The Albe hath also a hood, the profession of chastity; and a lappet, signifying the Priestly tongue, which bindeth the froward, and looseth the penitent. Again, this Vestment, which in the ancient Priesthood was called a linen coat, and in Greek ??????, or the garment which reacheth unto the feet, is said of old to have been closely-fitting, which pointeth unto the Jews' SPIRIT OF BONDAGE TO FEAR. But in the new Priesthood it is ample, according to the spirit of adoption, in that LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST HATH MADE US FREE. It hath also golden broidery and devices for ornament which with varied work in divers parts, which hinteth of that which the Prophet saith in the Psalms, UPON THY RIGHT HAND DID STAND THE QUEEN IN A VESTURE OF GOLD, WROUGHT ABOUT WITH DIVERS COLOURS.

4. The Albe is also drawn tight with a girdle, and this meaneth the strangling of all carnal pleasure, as the Lord saith, LET YOUR LOINS BE GIRT.

5. And the sleeves of the Albe, as also of the Tunicle, ought to be tight enow, not too loose, lest they slip away and leave the arms bare; and having apparels at the edges, representing the golden bracelets which by a miracle did enclose in seemly wise the bare arms of Saint Martin while he celebrated Mass. By the Albe also, which covereth the body from above downwards, is typified that hope which cometh unto the Church from above through grace, and through her own merits below. Of this the Apostle saith, WE ARE SAVED BY HOPE. And in that it reacheth unto the feet, it pointeth to perseverance, as was mentioned near the end of the Proeme of this Book.

6. But as touching that which agreeth unto Christ, Which is the Head, the Albe being a linen Vestment, and widely differing from the clokes made of the skins of dead animals, wherewith Adam was clad after his fall, doth picture that newness of life which Christ both had and taught, and doth give in Baptism unto us. And concerning this the Apostle saith, PUT OFF THE OLD MAN WITH HIS DEEDS, AND PUT ON THE NEW MAN, WHICH IS CREATED AFTER GOD. For in the Transfiguration HIS FACE DID SHINE AS THE SUN, AND HIS RAIMENT WAS WHITE AS SNOW; nay, the garments of Christ were ever white and clean, forasmuch as HE DID NO SIN, NEITHER WAS GUILE FOUND IN HIS MOUTH.

This Vestment representeth also the white robe, which Herod put on Christ to mock him.

15 November 2012


An excerpt from the third book of the Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durandus of Mende, Englished by T.H. Passmore:
1. First I must speak of the six Vestments belonging to both Bishop and Priest, according to the foregoing.

The Priest or Bishop who is about to celebrate, having washed his hands, taketh the Amice, and covereth his head with it; and this he hath in the stead of the Ephod or Superhumeral, or of the Breastplate of Judgment; nay, even now it may be called the Superhumeral. This signifieth salvation, which is granted through faith; whereof also the Apostle speaketh, saying unto the Ephesians, PUT ON THE HELMET OF SALVATION. It figureth also chastity of heart and body, because it goeth round his reins and breast, and covereth them; and though it be put on beneath all other sacred Vestments, yet it is supreme over all, for that chastity ought both to dwell within the heart, and in practice to shine out abroad. Wherefore it is drawn tight over the reins, for there desire doth hold his chief sway. Moreover, by the Amice is signified that a man should be strong in good works, for it spreadeth over the shoulders every way: and it is the shoulders that be strong unto the carrying-out of labour, even as the patriarch Jacob saith, HE BOWED HIS SHOULDER TO BEAR, AND BECAME A SERVANT UNTO TRIBUTE.

There be two strings wherewith the Amice is tied across the breast; these are the intention wherewith, and the end whereunto, our works must be informed, that they be not done in the leaven of malice and wickedness, but in the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. Thus ought not the Priest to live in idleness, but to labour in good works, according to that of the Apostle unto Timothy, LABOUR AS A GOOD SOLDIER OF JESUS CHRIST. In certain places a praiseworthy custom holdeth, that a white shift of linen, or a surplice, should be put on over the common dress before the Amice, whereby faith is understood, which ought to be had before all things. Again, the Amice goeth round the mouth of the Chasuble; but of this I will treat in the chapter of the Chasuble.

2. The Amice is drawn tightly round the neck: and by this is symbolised the subjection of the voice, for the neck, wherein is the voice, doth express the act of speaking; it is therefore held bound, as it were, lest falsehood pass unto the tongue therefrom. Yet over the breast and throat it is drawn but loosely, as shall be expounded in the chapter of the Girdle. With the Amice also we cover the head, lest, if we cast the eyes freely every way, we should ponder unlawful things. And the breast and heart are covered with it, for the mind of the Priest ought to be intent on those things which lie upon him; nor may he in that hour relax his heart unto vanities, or to the unrestrained meditation of any worldly thing.

3. Further, as touching that which agreeth unto the head, even Christ, the Amice, which overshadoweth the Priest's head, doth represent that which is described in the Apocalypse, AND I SAW A MIGHTY ANGEL COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN, CLOTHED WITH A CLOUD; and in Esaias, BEHOLD, THE LORD RIDETH UPON A SWIFT CLOUD. And the world's Saviour, the Son of God, the Angel of Great Counsel, coming to save the world, was veiled as with a cloud, when he hid away His Godhead in Flesh. For THE HEAD OF EVERY MAN IS CHRIST; AND THE HEAD OF CHRIST IS GOD.

The Priest's Amice, then, doth symbolise this hiding in flash; but it is more particularly set forth by that Veil which the Holy Father draweth over his head, and of which I will speak in the chapter of the Undergirdle. And it is a comely thought that this very thing, which is typified by the shoes of the feet, is also expressed by the veiling of the head - namely, they lying-hid of the Godhead in Flesh, and Its revelation through it. For when HE WAS KNOWN IN JEWRY, AND HIS NAME WAS GREAT IN ISRAEL; then OVER EDOM DID HE CAST OUT HIS SHOE, and HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS DID HE OPENLY SHOW IN THE SIGHT OF THE HEATHEN.

The Amice doth also represent the fold wherewith the Jews veiled the Face of Christ, saying in the twenty-sixth chapter of Matthew, PROPHECY UNTO US, THOU CHRIST, WHO IS HE THAT SMOTE THEE?

Newer | Latest | Older

This is a not-for-profit web log, with an educational purpose. The quotations that appear in its entries I presume to be fairly used under current copyright law. To my knowledge, the pictures displayed here are either faithful reproductions of two-dimensional works of art in the public domain, or have been authorized for display via a Creative Commons or similar license. I am making an ongoing effort to properly credit all of the quotations and images that appear on this web log.

If you are the owner of the rights to any quotation or image that appears here and you object to its presence, or the manner in which it is presented, please e-mail me at danmitsui [at] hotmail [dot] com and I will remove or amend the post.