Sunday, December 05, 2004

Benedictus Qui Venit 

In my quest to learn about and experience more Anglo-catholic liturgy, I worshipped this morning at the Church of the Ascension in Chicago. I attended their 11am Solemn High Mass and it was glorious. The church nave is smaller than I imagined it being, but it exuded a warmth that larger churches cannot. The high altar was East facing against the wall and was flanked by cherubim. Outside of the sanctuary there were two shrines on either side, one to the Blessed Virgin Mary and one to their patron saint, Michael. All the service music and propers were sung beautifully in latin (BrotherBeal, you would have loved it!) by the choir on behalf of the congregation, which, I admit, is not my favorite thing, but it was so gorgeous that one could helped but to be moved. English translations were sometimes sung after the latin, but were always printed in the bulletin. I'm assuming that they began with the Penitential Order because it was Advent, but perhaps they always use it. I doubt it though. The vestments and altar frontals were glorious, a deep purple trimmed in black and gold. The presider wore a cope over his cassock, alb, and stole, and the deacon and subdeacon wore dalmatics, with the Deacon sporting a maniple as well. They held out the cope for the presider as they processed and move about the sanctuary so it appeared as though they were one person instead of three (symbolism?). During the procession there was a moderate amount of incense and the presider blessed the people with the aspergillium. The first reading was done by a lay person from the congregation, the second reading chanted by the subdeacon, and the Gospel chanted by the Deacon. After the Gospel, the presider, Fr. Higgenbotham, delivered a sermon with excellent content but lacking in presentation. The prayers of the people were read by the Deacon, "according to our charity", to which we assented by saying, "Lord, have mercy." Immediately before the Sacrament of the Table, the presider was changed out of his cope and into the chasuable. I say "was changed" because the Deacon and Subdeacon did it all for him, he did not touch it. The Mass was chanted facing the Altar while the thurifer raised our prayers to God in ample clouds of smoke. Sanctus bells rang out indicating the most solemn moments of the prayer and the Subdeacon preceded the presider during the distribution of the Body, holding a paten down low so that there was no chance of dropping the Host as you received. Each of the hymns we sang during the service with full choir support were carefully selected to fit the season and particular Sunday (Hymnal 1982 - #54, 76, and 73). As I looked around the congregation after the service ended, I noted at least four Religious women of at least two different orders, 4 priests, and one bishop in attendance. To me, that speaks volumes about the church. I believe I will go back again after I return from the holiday break and continue to experience the Anglo-catholic tradition. Besides St. Paul's-by-the-Lake, and St. Luke's in Evanston, does anyone know of other parishes in the Anglo-catholic tradition in the Chicago diocese that I could try out and see how they do it? I've become very interested in this and want to learn more about it. I experienced all the things I reported above and was blessed by them but, with the exception of a few, I do not know the why behind the beauty. That then, is my goal.



Good grief.

There's more jargon here than I see in reading medical articles...

To pick out one thing among a large variety of others...what's a maniple?

By Blogger Hudd, at 3:23 PM  


Where can I find the Latin for the propers and collects??? And I want to know how things were pronounced - if they used church or Classical Latin...

Can we go back there when I come visit?

By Blogger BrotherBeal, at 3:30 PM  

Hudd -

Hahaha. Yes, indeed, there is a lot of jargon associated with church services when you get right down to it. A maniple, (which I sometimes call a mandible by accident, but that isn't right) is a narrow piece of cloth that looks like a really miniature stole, colored the same as the other liturgical vestments with the same trim and worn over the wrist. It's a very priestly garment and not too many priests use them anymore, which is why it was significant that they did here.


By Blogger Ryan, at 3:37 PM  

St. Giles in Northfield is also High Church, although I have only been to their Christmas Midnight Mass. Their organ and choir are fabulous! Incense was used appropriately and wonderfully.

I love church of the Ascension. Fr. Higgenbotham was my spiritual director at one point.

I make a distinction between "High Church" and "Anglo Catholic". As Episcopalians I deem us to be Anglo Catholics, but not all of us are "High Church".

By Blogger K, at 4:17 PM  

No, the maniple is not a priestly article at all! It is a diaconal garment, used to symbolize servitude. In the old days it was used to wipe the hands of the priest after the traditional luvabo washing.

Priests who wear them do so to remind them that they are also deacons; as priests do not renounce their diaconal vows. Remember when you are a priest, you are also a priest, deacon, and lay person, as you have teken priestly, diaconal, and baptismal vows and have not renounced any, only added more.

Enough of my rambling!

By Blogger K, at 10:24 PM  


What you say seems to make sense about the maniple, but resources I found do not make that explicit suggestion. One source, the Catholic Encyclopedia (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09601b.htm), says it originated as a Roman garment, used by the rich for wiping away perspiration like a contemporary handkerchief and that before that it was a military term denoting a subdivision of a Roman legion consisting of 120 - 200 men (http://www.tiscali.co.uk/reference/dictionaries/difficultwords/data/d0007951.html). It also notes that later in the Middle Ages it came to be associated with the bonds which held Christ's hands and that both priests and deacons wore them. Certain vesting prayers (http://www.stmatthewsanglican.org/vesting.html) associate it with tears and sorrow. The Diocese of Montreal (http://www.montreal.anglican.org/parish/rawdon/what_is_an_anglican.htm) associates it specifically with servanthood, which would suggest but not limit it to the Diaconate. This encyclopedia (http://57.1911encyclopedia.org/M/MA/MANIPLE.htm) lists it as being a Catholic vestment proper for all liturgical ministers to wear from the subdeacon upwards and states that in the Armenian church it is particular to the role of subdeacon. So, as a professor of mine might say, it's more complicated than that. Now Hudd, that was probably way more than you cared to know about the maniple. K, what have you found that suggests it is primarily a diaconal vestment?


By Blogger Ryan, at 11:23 PM  

Actually a maniple is a diaconal garment, but originally more multi-purpose than that. Some scholars believe it developed from the Greek mappula, which was a small towel used to wipe sweat from the brows of athletes and laborers. It was also used thusly for communicants, as well as preventing wine spills and giving the priest a place to dry his hands.

Think of it as an ecclesial golf towel.

By Blogger Jane Ellen+, at 11:30 PM  

So...really...what I'm getting outta this is that no one really knows what it is, other than 'priestly' and 'rare'.

Heh...and, yes, the reason I picked out maniple is cause I read it as 'mandible' too. Which left me thinking...'he's wearing a jawbone? Naaaah'

To add fuel to the fire, can I request explanations for "chasuable", "aspergillium", and "dalmatics"?


By Blogger Hudd, at 1:51 AM  

Ryan how wonderful! I thought of you all day, your Dad told me, as I was refilling the Holy Water font at St.Hilary's that you were attending Asscension today, my old parish of many years. Delighted you GOT IT! (the three-as-one symbolism) and even more delighted that you liked it. Fr. Norris was rector in my day and I can remember him faithfully adding the maniple in the vestry and then leaving it on the door nob as he entered the church! I believe the Relgious women were Sisters' of St. Anne, that was the order of Anglican Nuns who ran the day school when I was there. Glad to hear that the music tradition continues. My feeling was that this was always "high church" done very very well and not just for the saking of doing it, but for the real reasons and in the ancient traditions. Hope to see you next Sunday at St. Hilary's? Fondly, Tom

By Blogger Tom Mahlstedt, at 3:22 AM  

Hey there Tom. Yes, I will be at St. Hilary's next Sunday and I'm suppossed to tell you David White says hello.

Ok, Hudd. Boy you opened up something there, didn't you? Now I think I understand better why so many disagreements occurred in the church about vestments. I don't think we should say that a maniple is just "priestly", since that seems to be in contention. Although, the Rev. John N. Wall writes in his book "A New Dictionary for Episcopalians" that a maniple is "traditionally worn by the celebrant..." So, who really knows. Perhaps it originated as a garment meant for all orders of ministry but has in practice become limited to the diaconate. Ok, a chasuble is an oval shaped garment worn by the priest over the alb and stole, especially but not limited to the during the Sacrament of the Table. A Dalmatic is a rectangular vestment which matches the stole in color and is worn by the Deacon. An aspergillium is a tube, usually made of silver or gold, that is used to dip into a bowl (stoup) of holy water and then used to splash droplets of it out into the congregation. This action is called asperges. An aspergillium can also be more simple, such a branch from a tree. There ya go...

How'd I do on those folks?


By Blogger Ryan, at 9:04 AM  

According to the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, a maniple is a priestly vestment. (However, when I asked her who wears a maniple, her first response was to grin and say, "Nobody.")


By Blogger Ryan, at 1:46 PM  

Well Ryan, there is more to the chasuble. The chasuble is rounded because it is a symbol of the world, that christ is present everywhere throughout the world and that in the making of Eucharist, Christ is present in the world in sacrament.

The chasuble is supposed to be seamless as it is also a symbol of unity throughout the church.

Just something I picked up while here at ye blessed blanket.

Also, in talking to my spiritual director (A former Roman priest) the maniple was given along with the dalmatic at all diaconal ordinations as a diaconal vestment. Priests wear them as a reminder of their diaconal vows.


By Blogger K, at 4:59 PM  

Ryan, also note that the chasuble is seamless as was the garment Jesus wore at his death. And, I shall try and remember to bring a book for you. In the late '70s the Art Institute of Chicago, textile department did one of the finest exhititions I ever saw. "Rament for the Lord's Service" a show of vestments from earlest days. It included the first miter worn in this country made by Samuel Seabury's daughter from an old top hat. Alas I only have a black and white copy of the exhibition cataloge, the color version was too costly, but it is still a very vauable source of inforation aboout vestments. See ya, Tom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:08 AM  


In my tradition we often wear suits. Sometimes albs. Sometimes jeans and t-shirts. Sometimes we wear a Geneva gown, but that is to highlight who is presiding at the service. Anyone can wear one no matter the ecclesial/ordained role. Life is much easier that way, you know?

The stole is worn by some Baptists. But that is a rare practice. It is decorative and that is all. Some see it as a symbol of ordination, but most people who are ordained and own a stole only wear it to "look fancy." Heh. I have not seen a layperson wear it, but it would be theologically appropriate for them to do so.

By Blogger Pastoral Team, at 12:56 PM  

The stole is I think the most ancient and perhaps the most important of all vestments, and should be reserved for the ordained as a symbol of the willingness to take on the burden of ordained ministry....to be thought of as a yoke of service and duty. Thus the custom of kissing the stole each time it is put on or taken off...with a prayer thanking God for the the privilage of serving in the ministry. There are also preaching stolls and tipits usually of all black which may be worn by lay people as symbols of the authority or permission to preach often in catheral churches. Want to chat about the origin of the amice? Tom

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:57 PM  

Another note on the elusive Maniple: first mentioned in the Roman Orda of the 2nd century. Mentioned again in the 6th century in a letter from Gregory the Great to John, Archbishop of Revenna. By the 9th century it is common vesture, worn on the left arm near the wrist by Bishop, Priest, Deacon and Sub-Deacon. It was intended to cover the hand of the acolyte or priest at the point in the Mass when he touched the Chrisma. So that the human hand did not touch the sacred object. The use of the maniple was officially ended by the NOTITIAE on May 4, 1967, item #30 page 192. Reason, it gets in the way! Tom.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:09 AM  

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