Wednesday, 30 November 2011
There will be Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the church of SS Gregory and Augustine, Woodstock Road, Oxford on the following occasions in the near future:
Wednesday 30th November, St Andrew, 6 p.m. (and, of course, every Wednesday at that time)
Thursday, 1st December, Martyrs of the University of Oxford, 12 noon.
Friday, 2nd December, First Friday, 6 p.m.
Thursday 8th December, The Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, 12 noon.
Tuesday 13th December, St Lucy, 6 p.m. This is Fr Saward's ordination anniversary.
Sunday 18th December Advent IV, Sung Mass, 12 noon.
Although St Andrew is most frequently associated in the British consciousness with Scotland he was certainly honoured and invoked in medieval England.
In York Minster there is this fine early fourteenth century depiction in glass of his death:
From the de Mauley window in the nave of York Minster
Image:Gordon Plumb on Flickr
The glass in the tracery is nineteenth century but that in the main lights fifteenth century York work
Image: Gordon Plumb on Flickr
Closer to my own home the church of St Andrew at Slaidburn, in Craven, was the first benefice held by Bishop Richard Fleming in 1403-4, being presented to it by Pontefract priory as patron. Only the tower survives from Fleming's time, the rest of the church being rebuilt later in the fifteenth century. There is a picture of the church as it is today here.
Just outside Pontefract is the church of St Andrew Ferry Fryston - often referred to as Ferrybridge church. This was moved from its original site in the marshes near the river Aire in 1952-3 to a new, drier, location. There is an illustrated article about it here.
Between Doncaster and Barnsley is the church of St Andrew at Bolton on Dearne. This is a church with very important Anglo-Saxon remains, and there is an illustrated article about it here. It is a church of which, on my church crawls, I became very fond - partly because of its traditional West Riding Anglo-Catholicism and also becuase it is little appreciated for its archaeological importance. A glance at later editions of Sir Nikolaus Pevsner's The West Riding reveals how he dismisses the church in a few lines in his first edition, and then had to add a lengthy piece in the appendix revisions explaining how its importance had been pointed out to him by H.M.Taylor - even experts can miss what actually stares one in the face.
Today is the feast of St Andrew the Apostle, and has been observed as such since the fourth century. Thinking about this led me to reflect on his emergence as the patron saint of Scotland, and the attendent iconography.
There are good reasons for supposing that the relics which came to St Andrews were originally in the collection of Acca, bishop of Hexham, who took them into Pictish country when he was driven from Hexham (c. 732), and founded a see, not, as according to tradition, in Galloway, but on the site of St Andrews. Given that the church at Hexham had been founded by St Wilfrid, with his strong links to Rome, and more importantly that the church there was dedicated to St Andrew, this looks a tempting interpretation. The connection made with Regulus is, therefore, due in all probability to the desire to date the foundation of the church at St Andrews to an early a date as possible.
It has also been suggested that St Andrew's connection with Scotland may have been reinforced following the Synod of Whitby, of 663 when the Celtic church felt that St Columba had been "outranked" by St Peter and that Peter's brother would make a higher ranking patron. In 1320 the Declaration of Arbroath cited Scotland's conversion to Christianity by Andrew, "the first to be an Apostle".
The National Archives of Scotland website has an interesting, illustrated, piece about the use of the image of St Andrew as national patron and emblem: it can be viewed here.
After the Scottish War of Independence St Andrew continued as a national symbol, as in the Trinity Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes of circa 1478-79 depicting the saint standing behind the kneeling figures of King James III and his son and successor, James Duke of Rothesay, the future King James IV.
St Andrew with King James III and the future King James IV.
From the Trinity Panels by Hugo van der Goes
Royal Collection on loan to the National Gallery of Scotland
Photo from Englishmonarchs.orm
However a somewhat similar scene with King James IV from his Book of Hours, now in Vienna, and dating to about the time of his marriage to Queen Margaret in 1503, shows St James the Great as his sponsor or patron:
King James IV at prayer.
Queen Margaret is shown top right, and beneath are the arms of the King of Scots.
Monday, 28 November 2011
There was a post on the Medieval Religion discussion group today about a link to images of the spectacular Royal Anjou Bible, which is now at the library of the Theology Faculty of the University of Leevan/Louvain.
It was created in 1340 for King Robert I of Naples (d.1343) and given by him to his grandaughter and heiress the future Queen Joanna I (d.1382) and her future husband Prince Andrew of Hungary (d.1345). It is thereby linked to one of the most spectacular and lurid marital and murder scandals of the fourteenth century. On Queen Joanna's colourful life there is the recent biography is Nancy Goldstone's Joanna: The Notorious Queen of Naples, Jerusalem and Sicily. I have glanced at this but not yet had time to read what looks to be a readable and detailed account.
As an example of the art of the illuminator it is a wondergul glimpse of the glittering culture of the Angevin court in the early fourteenth century, with its links across the Mediterranean and to both France and Hungary and to the Papal court at Avignon.
The link, which has some notes about the manuscript at the end, and a link to a recent book about it, is here. It may take a little time to load, but the illuminations are delightful. I am copying and pasting the first, and most spectacular, one:
Following on from my previous post I have found a view of part of Andrea di Firenze's The Way of Salvation which shows some of the figures of the ecclesiastical and temporal hierarchy in more detail, including the figure of the Knight of the Garter, who is very prominent in the centre foreground. Ages ago I read a piece which tried to identify him, but have not got it to hand.
Here are two more details:
The first shows the figures to the left of the previous group, with members of various religious orders and a bishop:
The Dominicans preaching:
Images: arthistory390 on Flickr
Saturday, 26 November 2011
As we are in the week following the Feast of Christ the King (OF) and as we come to the beginning of Advent, with its eschatalogical themes, it seems appropriate to post this image of The Way of Salvation of circa 1365-1368.
It was painted by Andrea da Firenze or di Bonaiuto (circa 1346 - post May 16, 1379) in what is now the Cappella Spagnuolo in Florence's basilica of Santa Maria Novella. This is the Dominican church, and the painting would have been seen by Bishop Richard Fleming when he was in attendance on Pope Martin V who lived at Sta Maria Novella in 1418-20 - indeed Fleming was almost certainly consecrated as a bishop at the basilica or in the papal apartments which still survive there.
A larger photograph of the painting can be viewed here.
As readers will see the figures at the lower base are reproduced in the mast head to this blog. Not only is there the Fleming connection, but the figures of Pope and Emperor, King, Cardinal, Bishops and religious seemed to me to encapsulate many of the themes the Clever Boy wants to write about. The Clever Boy is not that clever when it comes to technical matters, so the mast head, along with the fleur-de-lys at the side are the work of his computational Eminence grise - and apologies to him for not having acknowledged his work earlier on in the year.
The black and white dogs are, of course the domini canes, and the figure in a white hooded jupon is one of the earliest depictions of a Knight of the Garter - the garter can be seen below his left knee. Also present are St Bridget of Sweden and Queen Joanna I of Naples.
A wonderful picture, with plenty to look at and reflect upon. There is a lengthy interpretive online article here.
Friday, 25 November 2011
My friend David Forster has drawn my attention to his post on the St Tarcissius blog to the sad news of the death of Dominic Mary, the blogger of Libera me. His post has a further link to that of Gem of the Ocean, Dominic Mary's widow. Please join with us in praying for the repose of his soul and for his widow at this time.
Thursday, 24 November 2011
Oxford Pro-life witness - Saturday 26th November
In reparation for abortion, and offering prayers for all unborn babies,
their mothers, fathers and families and all those involved in abortion,
especially the nursing staff of the John Radcliffe Hospital
For more information contact:
On the LMS Chairman's blog there are pictures of the Missa cantata celebrated at SS Gregory and Augustine here in Oxford last Sunday by Fr John Saward. This is the first of a plan for a monthy celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary form at 12 noon on the third Sunday of each month. The report and pictures can be viewed at Sunday Missa Cantata in Oxford.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend on this occasion, but hope to do so on other occasions.
SS Gregory and Augustine's has the, literally, valuable advantage of possessing its own parking area, as well as being on a main bus route, so getting there is not difficult if you live within easy travelling distance of Oxford.
The next such celebration will be on Sunday December 18th.
I was pleased to see the following announcement from the Bishops of England and Wales:
The Bishops’ Conference requests that on the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Sunday 3 June 2012, each parish will celebrate a Mass with prayers to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. During this Mass, the first reading is replaced by 1 Kings 3:11–14 and the Prayer for the Queen, which has been approved by the Bishops, is used after the Post Communion Prayer and before the Final Blessing.
Prayer for the Queen
Under the Use of Sarum the King's name was entered in the Canon after that of the Pope and Bishop ( given there was a silent recitation of the Canon that could have avoided problems in the Wars of the Roses) and the King's name was prominent in the Canon as translated in the 1549 Prayer Book, but it disappeared in 1552 and subsequent reissues. On the continent the use of the monarch's name in the canon also survived in use. This is surely a point where the Ordinarite can set a good example or maintain the Book of Common Prayer state prayers.
Reviving the Domine salvam fac for the Jubilee is fine, but why should not parishes say it as a devotion every Sunday? Why indeed should not the laity recite it as a private devotion? I do - and have done for a while.
* Salvum for a King, salvam for a Queen
Fr Blake has a post about the appeal to restore Augustus Welby Pugin's St Augustine's Ramsgate which can be read in At the House of Lords.
The campaign is one eminently worth supporting, and I would recommend it to anyone interested and with funds.
Writing of Pugin prompts me to get on and post about another Pugin design, but one that is, alas, no more - the Jesus Chapel at Ackworth in Yorkshire. Watch this blog!
I have now managed to find online an article from Christ Church Matters for 2010 which has more information about what appears to be Cardinal Wolsey's galero, and in the light of that I have revised my post Cardinal Wolsey's red hat. So if you have already read it you might like to go back and learn more about this intriguing survival. If ou have not already read it, well it is a further inducement so to do.
Wednesday, 23 November 2011
St Clement, whose feast day falls today, was the third successor of St Peter, and is accorded a place in the Roman Canon. There is an online article about him and his cultus here.
St Peter and St Clement
Mosaic circa 1200 San Clemente Rome
The New Liturgical Movement has an article about him, with links to a series of their posts about the remarkable, even amongst Roman churches, San Clemente in Rome, which can be read at St. Clement and San Clemente. There is a page about the iconography of the apse here.
San Clemente has been in the care of the Irish Dominicans since 1667, and there is a general introductory article about the basilica here.
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, c.1730-35
The National Gallery
In my home town of Pontefract the chapel in the castle was dedicated to him. Excavations in the 1980s suggested that the chapel was situated on the highest natural part of the promentory on which the castle is built, although later concealed by the embanking of the Norman defences, and that the original chapel predated the castle. That would tie in with Danish influence in the area before the Conquest of 1066. The chapel was a collegiate foundation, and one of its deans was to be the benefactor who gave the house called the Oriel, and hence the name, to my Oxford college. Moreover the park attached to the castle lay within the extra-parochial jurisdiction of the chapel, and my home in Pontefract lay within its bounds. So I feel I have a particular connection with St Clement.
Tuesday, 22 November 2011
Last year in my post St Cecilia's Day I wrote about my visits to the fine church of St Cecilia Parson Cross in the northern suburbs of Sheffield and my extraordinarily happy memories of the parish in the time of the late Canon Geoffrey Bostock OGS, when it was a great, Romanising, Anglo-Catholic stronghold.
Looking at the parish website today I see that the main church building is at present closed due to structural problems,and services being held either in the undercroft Lady Chapel or at the daughter church of St Bernard, and an ominous sounding notice of a meeting in September to discuss the future of the church. Desperately sad news. As I wrote last year I do not want to go back, but I mourn for what is departed or departing.
Today being St Cecilia's day reminds me that Cardinal Wolsey's titular church in Rome was that of Sta Cecilia in Trastevere.
Here in Oxford in his foundation which eventually became Christ Church is what is said to be his Cardinal's hat or galero, which he received in 1515 from Pope Leo X. The hat was carried in solemn procession through London on November 15th that year and on November 18th Wolsey received it from the hands of the Archbishops of Canterbury, Armagh and Dublin at the conclusion of Mass in Westminster abbey. The scene is depicted in a rather florid nineteenth century painting reproduced on the cover of Schofield and Skinner' s excellent The English Cardinals (2007) :
The hat now at Christ Church was found in the Great Wardrobe in London by Bishop Burnet in 1710 and eventually passed into the hands of Horace Walpole. From his collection it passed to taht of Charles Kean and in 1898 it was given to Christ Church and is kept in a specially made case in the Library - which is not open to visitors. Expert opinion considers the rabbit fur fabric and silk as well as the design to be of the early sixteenth century. The hat is missing its cords and tassels, but the holes for them can clearly be seen.
If it is actually Wolsey's hat one wonders whose hands it passed through after his arrest and death in November 1530 - did it at one point rest over his grave in Leicester abbey before it was dissolved, or was it left at Cawood when he was arrested?
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The logo in this photo is for online copy-protection only.
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Christ Church Library, Cardinal Wolsey's Hat 1912, Oxford
Image:Francis Frith Ref: 64075
The college does not make much of this link with its founder, and this photograph from 1912 was the only one I could find online.
However the hat was lent on display to New Haven in 2010 to the Paul Mellon Center for British Art at Yale's exhibition on Horace Walpole at Strawberry Hill. There is an article, complete with illustrations of the hat, by the Curator of the Christ Church Picture Gallery in Christ Church Matters 2010 about transporting the hat to the USA and entitled The travels of a hat.
Depending on whether one follows his younger contemporary Roger of Hovedon who assigns his death to November 22nd or Thomas Stubbs in the fourteenth century, who gives November 26th (our old friend scribal error may explain it - reading xxii as xxvi) hereabouts is the anniversary of the death 830 years ago in 1181 of Roger of Pont L'Evêque, born in Normandy about 1115 and who had been Archbishop of York since 1154.
The Oxford DNB life of Roger by Frank Barlow can be read here. There is a similar online article here, which mistakenly places his burial at Durham, not York.
As Archbishop he is perhaps most famous for his being seen as an opponent of Thomas Becket, not least over the respective claims of the two archiepiscopal sees. As a friend and I recently agreed Roger was perhaps unlucky to have as his opposite number a future martyr for the liberties of the Church, and to have clashed with St Thomas over the exclusive claims of Canterbury to crown the English monarch. Roger's coronation of the Young King Henry on June 14th 1170 was the final breach between the two men.
Given other circumstances Archbishop Roger might have been remembered as a great servant of church and country and as a magnificent builder and patron. Little of what he built or knew now survives.
Image: York Minster website
In the north aisle of the nave there survives one panel of glass which is thought to have originated in Archbishop Roger's choir glazing. It is a figure from a Tree of Jesse:
To the north, behind the Minster, there survives part of a cloister arcade from the Archiepiscopal palace which is normally ascribed to him, as was the foundation of the collegiate church of St Mary and the Holy Angels for his clerks and which adjoined the palace gate. With the expansion of the Minster nave, this became joined to the cathedral in the early fourteenth century, but was a casualty of the reformation; its foundations were uncovered in the 1960s restoration.
The remains of the palace cloister
The cloister with Archbishop Grey's early thirteenth century chapel
Image: farm5 on Flickr
Probably the only other church he would recognise is the fine twelfth century nave of the church on the archiepiscopal manor at Sherburn in Elmet, which was sometimes used by Archbishops for ordinations and meetings.
There is more than a whiff of scandal attached to Roger. According to a letter attributed to John of Salisbury, who first reported this story in 1172 two years after the death of Thomas Becket, and nine years before Roger's own death, as a young and ambitious clerk in the household of Archbishop Theobald of Canterbury, and his Archdeacon from 1148, Roger was involved in a scandal involving a homosexual relationship with a boy named Walter. After Walter made the relationship public, Roger reacted by embroiling Walter in a judicial case that ended with Walter's eyes being gouged out. When Walter then accused Roger of responsibility for this crime, Roger persuaded a judge to condemn Walter to death by hanging. Becket supposedly was involved in the cover-up afterwards, by arranging with bishops Hilary of Chichester and John of Coutances for Roger to swear an oath that he was innocent. According to John of Salisbury, Roger then went to Rome in 1152 and was cleared of involvement by Pope Eugenius III. John of Salisbury further alleges that it was only after bribery that the Pope cleared Roger. Frank Barlow points out in his biography of Becket that while Roger was accused of these crimes, and may even have been guilty of some sort of criminal homosexuality, John of Salisbury, a noted partisan of St Thomas, could almost certainly have had the motive for bringing up this story in 1172 as a means of defaming Roger.The story would naturally have put Roger in the worst possible light. The story does not put Becket in too good a light, and if it is not true or exaggerated then John of Salisbury, distinguished scholar and churchman that he was, does not look so good either- if he actually wrote the letter in question.
The story, whether true, exaggerated or false, is better than most fiction - once again it would make for a good novel or drama, let alone modern newspaper style headlines "Archbishop of York arranged to have ex Gay-lover blinded and hanged" would be quite a good line - with or without phone-hacked evidence.
More seriously the story is a reminder that there have always been scandals and alleged scandals in the Church. That is not to minimise them, but it is also to say that we need to be sure when we pass judgement. The truth or otherwise about Archbishop Roger and Walter is now, presumably, unknowable. Contemporary allegation of scandal should be examined with the utmost seriousness, caution and care.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
On Saturday afternoon I went up to the LMS Requiem in Westminster Cathedral celebrated by Bishop Alan Hopes. There is an illustrated report by the LMS Chairman in his blog post Annual Requiem from which I have copied two photographs. In the report Dr Shaw has a link to his impressive Flickr set of images of the Mass.
At first I thought the attendance was relatively small, but realised at communion that many of the places behind me had filled up to provide a good congregation. The sanctuary of the cathedral provided a fine setting for the liturgy with its sombre magnificence - although I did notice that someone at the cathedral had omitted to change the altar candles to unbleached wax.
It is a few years since I was able to attend the Requiem, and I was pleased to see that the absolutions at the catafalque are now performed as routine on this occasion, which did not happen last time I was there.
It was perhaps unfortunate that CIEL were having their annual Mass at midday, followed by a speaker meeting at Brompton on the same day. One of my friend managed to attend both Masses, but a bit more liason might well result in more people getting to both of these occasions and showing the extent of support for the Extraordinary Form.
Afterwards there was an opportunity to meet up with various friends and to go off for a drink and a meal before travelling back to our various homes.
Saturday, 19 November 2011
Last night the Clever Boy and the Catholic Schoolmaster betook themselves to the Oxford Playhouse to see Clytemnestra, the triennial Greek play production from the Oxford University Classical Drama Society. It is quite a few years since I attended a production in Greek of a classical play, and this time the play was accompanied by an on-screen simultaneous translation either side of the stage.
Aeschylus' Oresteia was first perfomed in 458 BC, and 2,469 years later the play has lost little of its raw impact. The performances were good, and displayed both technical ability and real understanding. It is very good that such a tradition can be maintained, and indeed appreciated - the theatre was full.
Over supper afterwards we ruminated whether one could interpret the Furies in their pursuit of Orestes as Social Services, as usual arriving too late on the scene, offering to the House of Atreus courses in bereavement counselling, anger management and family conflict resolution.
Friday, 18 November 2011
A friend has sent me a link to an interview with the exiled Kaiser Wilhelm II at Doorn in May 1922. Conducted and written up by Baron Clemens von Radowitz-Nei it was published in the New York Times.
It provides an interesting insight into the Kaiser's ideas and assessment of the situation at that time, and his comments, or lack thereof, on various contemporaries. The article can be read here - it requires a bit of scrolling down to read.
This photograph conveys an image not dissimilar to that in the text of the interview,
although here he is in uniform.
Image: History-wiki. wikimedia.com
Huis Doorn is now a museum, and there are pictures of it here.
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Amongst my birthday presents was a signed copy from the author, my friend John Edwards, of Mary I: England's Catholic Queen, the latest in the Yale UP series of biographies of English monarchs.
I was delighted both to be given a copy of the book, and to find what a superb piece of work it appears to be - I say appears to be merely because I have only had a chance to glance at it and read some passages rather than devour it cover to cover. It has received some excellent reviews, and from what I have seen deservedly so. As John Edwards' expertise is rooted in late medieval and sixteenth century Hispanic studies he has explored as no-one appears to have done hitherto the full, Spanish dimension of Queen Mary's formation and the wider context of her marriage to King Philip.
I must get on and read the book through, but thought that the anniversary of the death of the Queen, and of Cardinal Archbishop Pole, which falls today, was a good occasion upon which to draw attention to the book. It is also a good occasion, as Fr Blake urges his readers in Death of Catholic England, upon which to pray for the repose of the souls of the Queen and the Cardinal.
My post from last year Queen Mary I and Cardinal Reginald Pole has pictures of the Requiem celebrated for Carsdinal pole in 2008 at magdalen, his Oxford college.
A third saint whose feast falls to day is St Elisabeth of Hungary, 1207-31. She is one of aseries of saints produced by the Arpad dynasty in Hungary. There is an online biography of her here, which has links to other relevant sites, including her shrine church at Marburg. With St Louis she is the co-patron of the Franciscan Third Order.
SS Elisabeth, Margaret and Henry of Hungary
Simone Martini 1318
Lower Basilica of St Francis, Assisi
St Clare and St Elisabeth, two Franciscan female saints
St Elisabeth of Hungary with Isabel of Portugal, wife of Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy
Petrus Christus, 1457-60
Groeninge Museum Bruges
This is the left wing of a triptych. The original triptych with the Mater Dolorosa in the central panel and St Catherine in the right wing was part of the collection of Margaret of Austria. The small triptych was probably commissioned by Isabel of Portugal who ordered the triptych at the time of her retirement to a Franciscan convent in Nieppe, France, in 1457. It later entered Margaret of Austria's collection. The panel shows Isabel of Portugal with Saint Elizabeth and features the typical, finely chiseled and almost doll-like style of Petrus Christus. (Acknowledgements to the Web Gallery of Art)
Isabel and Elisabeth are, of course, the same name, hence the association as well as the shared interest in Franciscan spirituality and the fact of both being of royal birth.
Here are two phpotographs by Genevra Kornbluth of the shrine of St Elisabeth at Marburg:
The Shrine at Marburg
Detail of the shrine base
There is a German language site about the church at Marburg here with expandable views of the church and its furnishings. There is another German site about St Elisabeth here, with reproductions of medieval paintings of her and also a picture of her copper gilt chasse of 1235-50
Today is also the feast of St Hilda, the great Northumbrian Abbess of royal birth who established monasteries at Hartlepool, Whitby and later Hackness. The Oxford DNB life of her by Alan Thacker is here and there is another account of her life here.
The ruins of the later medieval abbey, refounded after the Norman conquest, have become one of the most familiar images of both the Yorkshire coast and iconic of the dissolution of the monasteries.
In later years I discovered pictures showing the abbey when more of the fabric survived and that fed my desire to know what these great buildings had looked like when they were complete.
At Whitby the domestic buildings disappeared quite quickly, but the ruins of the abbey church survived, possibly as a coastal mark for mariners, gradually decaying and collapsing.
Samuel Buck's engraving of 1711 is actually from the south west,
and shows the south wall of the nave and the tower and south transept still standing.
The ruins from the north-west, painted by J.C.Buckler before 1812
The central tower fell on 25 June 1830, and a storm did some damage to the choir in 1839. Since then the ruin has changed little although it was shelled by German ships on 16 December 1914 and some small damage was done to the west end.
There are good online accounts of the history of Whitby,the abbey and its architecture here and here.
Today is the feast of St Hugh of Lincoln, the Carthusian who was bishop of the diocese from 1186 until his death in 1200. My post from this day last year can be read at St Hugh of Lincoln.
The surviving base of the shrine of St Hugh's head in the Angel Choir of Lincoln Cathedral.
The Angel Choir was built as the setting for the shrine of St Hugh's body and head between 1256 and 1280.
The metal superstructure is a piece of highly misguided, even if well-intentioned, 1980s artwork.
As thefollowing pictures show devotion to him survived on the continent after the reformation in England.
The Virgin and Child with St Bruno and St Hugh of Lincoln.
Sebastiano Ricci, 1704-06
Wednesday, 16 November 2011
In addition to what I published in my post last year about St Margaret which I linked to in the last article readers may be interested in these links and points of interest.
The modern biography by G.W.S. Barrow in the Oxford DNB is available here, and there are other accounts of her life here and here.
In 1887 the Bodleian Library bought a manuscript subsequently identified as being St Margaret's Gospel book, and which bears evidence of water damage from when the book, having been dropped in a river, was subsequently retrieved with the text undamaged.
Image: Medieval Musings
Today is the feast of both St Margaret of Scotland and St Edmund of Abingdon, and following that link will take you to my post about them both from last year. This year I am posting about them separately
St Edmund of Abingdon, born there about 1175, an Oxford academic and subsequently Archbishop of Canterbury 1234-1240,who was canonised in 1247.
The recent Oxford DNB life by C.H.Lawrence is judicious and can be read here and there is another online article about him here.
St Edmund of Abingdon
Thirteenth century glass in the east window of St Michael at the Northgate, Oxford
Image: Lawrence Lew on Flickr
Tuesday, 15 November 2011
Yesterday was the anniversary of the martyrdom of Abbot Hugh Faringdon of Reading and his companions and today that of the martyrdom of Abbot Richard Whiting and his companions in 1539. My posts from last year about Bl. Hugh Cook or Faringdon, last Abbot of Reading and about Bl.Richard Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury give an accouint of their lives and witness in blood for the Catholic faith.
Monday, 14 November 2011
Today is the 63rd birthday of The Prince of Wales, and an opportunity to express my loyal and good wishes to him
Following my recent post Commemorating Bl.George Napier my friend the Catholic Schoolmaster has reactivated the link on his blog to his transcription of the text of The Oxford Catholic Martyrs, by Bishop Challoner, with its accounts of Bl. George Nichols, Bl. Richard Yaxley, Bl. Thomas Belson and Bl. Humphrey Pritchard, the martyrs of 1589, and Bl. George Napier, martyred in 1610.
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Well that headline got your attention, but it is rather stale news. Today is the feast of St Brice and the anniversary of the massacre on that day of the Danes in Oxford, and elsewhere, in 1002 on the orders of King Æthelred II. It was ethnic cleansing eleventh century style.
There is an informative assessment online of King Æthelred II which reflects current historical thinking about his life and reign. An article about the massacre, with an interesting discussion of various historians interpretations of what actually happened can be seen here. As the article shows by quoting himself in a charter to St Frideswide's (now Christ Church cathedral) from 1004 things had been violent in Oxford two years earlier:
|For it is fully agreed that to all dwelling in this country it will be well known that, since a decree was sent out by me with the counsel of my leading men and magnates, to the effect that all the Danes who had sprung up in this island, sprouting like cockle amongst the wheat, were to be destroyed by a most just extermination, and thus this decree was to be put into effect even as far as death, those Danes who dwelt in the afore-mentioned town, striving to escape death, entered this sanctuary of Christ, having broken by force the doors and bolts, and resolved to make refuge and defence for themselves therein against the people of the town and the suburbs; but when all the people in pursuit strove, forced by necessity, to drive them out, and could not, they set fire to the planks and burnt, as it seems, this church with its ornaments and its books. Afterwards, with God's aid, it was renewed by me.|
The King does not appear at all penitent, other than for the incidental damage to St Frideswide's church, even though the massacre probably caused the Danish invasions which were to force him into exile in Normandy a few years later and after his restoration and death the establishment of the Danish line of Kings from 1016 until 1042.
King Æthelred II
An illumination from the Abingdon Chronicle of c.1220
In 2008 building work for an extension to St John's college revealed a series of skeletons of young men who had suffered violent deaths and been dumped in mass grave outside the city on the site of a bronzeage temple circle. The dating would indicate that these were victims of the St Brice's day massacre. The choice of this place for the burial suggests that a place associated with demons or suchlike in their minds was where the inhabitants of Oxford thought the Danes belonged. There is a report on the discovery here.
Saturday, 12 November 2011
Next Saturday, November 19th, the Vigil of Christ the King, there will be Evensong at 5.30pm at Holy Rood before Mass at 6pm. The preacher at Mass will be Fr. John O'Connor, OP, Prior of Oxford Blackfriars.
In a fortnight's time, on November 26th, there will be an Advent Carol Service of Lessons and Carols at Holy Rood at 4 pm. The Newman Consort will provide some of the music, and the service will be followed by tea and mince pies. At 6pm there will be the Vigil Mass of Advent Sunday.
Members and friends of the Ordinariate are urged to attend and to bring friends and enquirers to see the Ordinariate in action. If anyone is considering joining the Ordinariate this is an ideal opportunity to come along and meet members and supporters.
The Church of Holy Rood is situated in Abingdon Road, just south of Folly Bridge, and on the eastern side of the road. It has its own car park.
Friday, 11 November 2011
Last night, along with a wide range of interested listeners, I attended the talk by Dr Brian Sudlow on the future of the relationship between the SSPX and the Catholic Church which I advertised in SSPX and the Church - a lecture.
Dr Sudlow is the translator of the biography of Archbishop Lefebvre by Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, and a former supporter of the Society. His reasons for leaving are set out in Why I left the SSPX milieu which can be found on his blog The Sensible Bond.
Given that the current lack of certain knowledge about the state of discussions between the CDF and SSPX his talk had to be a reflection on the background and his own views as to what could, or should, happen. Such rumours as there have been do not suggest a positive outcome in terms of acceptance, but they may turn out be part of the continuing politics of the situation.
For Dr Sudlow the key issue was that of the authority of the Church as the ultimate source of legitimacy, and he believes that if SSPX can accept that as apparently set out in the preamble to the proposed aggreement they would find a place for themselves within the Church. Given that they have Bishops already that would give them an advantage over other groups such as the FSSP or the Bon Pasteur institute in Bordeaux, which are dependent upon the existing diocesan episcopate. Those groups had not always found it easy at first but they were beginning to build upon their foundations.
His view was that SSPX cannot be self validating in regard to the interpretation of Catholic Tradition, and saw a tendency to cite texts of lesser authority that suited their case against ones of higher canonical status. He believes that, like academics, they should be willing to submit their ideas to the intellectual critique of episcopal and theological confreres. If that was accepted they might be surprised to find that they had more acceptance than they expected. Such issues were always risky, but that was one that was part of being part of the whole Church. In that respect there was a need for the long view, of seeking ultimate validation, not waiting until everything was as SSPX might want it before re-entering full communion.
He feared a hardening of attitudes if the breach remained unhealed. There is now a generation which has no knowledge of the pre-1988 situation, and that the ultimate logic for some might be a new wave of sede vacante-ism. The Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger, had laboured hard to achieve reconciliation in 1988, and had courageously gone out to meet SSPX and seek to bring them fully into the fold.
Dr Sudlow was of the view that the particular French polito-religious concerns of SSPX members there were more or less impenetrable to non-French Catholics, but did think that some of the French episcopate were more favourable than hitherto to traditional ways.
Recent events such as the recent Assisi day and the beatification of Pope John Paul II raise new difficulties in the minds of SSPX members who distruct what they saw in the implied syncretism of the first Assisi meeting, and who are critical of the late Pope's actions, notably of course the excommunications of 1988.
It was possible that if no agreement with the whole of SSPX was achieved that the episcopate would split, with on eor possibly others accepting the offer from Rome, and others remaining outside. Individual SSPX bishops had a considerable personal following, who might well follow where they led.
This was a thought-provoking talk, and elicited a fair number of questions, but all of us, speaker as much as audience, are dependent upon the formal response of SSPX. Time to redouble one's prayers on this matter I think.
The Pope and Bishop Bernard Fellay of SSPX
Today is 150th anniversary of the death of King Pedro V of Portugal in 1861. He died of cholera at the age of only 24, and his death was to be within days or weeks of those of two of his younger brothers. The son of Queen Maria II and her King-consort husband Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg he was thus related to the Coburg network of the royal families of Europe. He succeeded his mother as King in 1853, aged 16, and until his majority his father acted as regent until 1855.
State portrait of King Pedro V
A description of the King's oath taking in 1855
King Pedro V in his early years as monarch
King Pedro V in later years