Wednesday, November 02, 2005

To Cross or Not to Cross 

I found out a little bit more about the tradition of priests crossing their stoles in the front. In discussion with my higher church minded theology professor today, she said it was a designation of order. Deacons wear their stole diagonal, priests crossed, and bishops hanging straight down. She also said it was likely a "tradition in search of a theology". But, when I mentioned to her what my Rector Emeritus had said about the Bishop being the only person with the strength to wear the stole straight down, it seemed to resonate with her. She said that made sense because the vesting prayer for putting on the stole mentions the yoke of Christ. She also said that when there is a Bishop present, she crosses her stole, but generally leaves it uncrossed otherwise. Since the spirituality of vesting is one of the subsections of my learning goals for field-ed, I went to the site that talked about vesting prayers. There are two forms, traditional and contemporary. In most cases, it is like the contemporary and traditional forms of the Lord's Prayer: they say essentially the same thing but in different words. In the case of the stole prayer, they are different, however. It also included some "rubrics" about crossing.

(Kiss the cross at the center of the stole. Priests cross in the middle). Restore to me, O Lord, the state of immortality which was lost to me by my first parents, and although unworthy to approach Thy sacred mysteries, grant me nevertheless eternal joy. (As a sign of his full priestly powers the bishop does not cross the stole in front.)

(Kiss the cross at the center of the stole). You said, 'My yoke is easy and my burden is light,' grant that I might bear your blessing to all the world.

So, there you have that. The discussion with my theology professor led to a side discussion about how she wishes we would bring back the maniple! Furthermore, she wishes we would be able to do an Anglican Missal service at school one day! As excited as I was to hear that, I told her I already tried to get that approved but the head liturgist said, "I would prefer we stick to the authorized liturgical texts." Then, my prof. and I hatched a plan involving a "Rite III" service that used the Anglican Missal texts as its text...hmmm...



Only one? None for me?

By Blogger AKMA, at 10:00 AM  

Where I come from, two is almost always better than one. Maybe if there's two other professors who ask with me it will make my request more credible...


By Blogger Ryan, at 10:23 AM  

The straight stole also derived for practical reasons. In times of old part of the Bishop's required garb was the pectoral cross (still very common). And in order that the cross be visible, he would not cross his stole. Or at least that is what I remember reading in a few places. You must remember that this was in the days before the cassock alb had made it's debute and the alb was seen as an undergarment for either cope or chasuble.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:58 AM  

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