Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding.

I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop...
It was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.


Saturday, 30 April 2016

Pilgrimage to Abingdon


Earlier today I joined a group from the FSSP community at St william of York in Reading on a Jubilee Year Pilgrimage to the Holy Door at the church of Our Lady and St Edmund Abingdon. Although Abingdon is only just south of Oxford this was the first time I had visited the church.

 


Image:stedmundabingdon.org.uk

I travelled there by bus with a friend who is a regular at the FSSP Mass over in Reading, and after we had found the church, we had time to walk into the town centre. It was Market day, and abingdon has some attractive and historic buildings.

Our Lady and St Edmund is externally a handsome mid-Victorian church built between 1857 and 1865 and  was substantially funded by the then Earl of Abingdon. It is built in what might well be termed a Puginesque style, and has elegant accessories such as a cloister connecting it to the presbytery.

 

Image:taking-stock.org.uk

Rather sadly, in my opinion, the interior does not now live up to the expectations aroused by the exterior. Not uncommon changes in the post Vatican II era have seen here the placing of a very small forward altar under the chancel arch, and the chancel itself seemed almost abandoned save for an isolated tabernacle on a pillar base at the east end. Doubtless the walls were once stencilled ( or intended to be ) but now the side chapel walls are simply painted blue and raspberry,

Some  fragments remain of what once was, including an impressive crucifix on the north wall, the side chapel altar on the south side, an impressive east window with saints of the Order of Malta flanking Our Lady of Abingdon and St Edmund.

On the north side is a rather appealing thirteenth century-style statue of Our Lady of Abingdon dating from 1954:
 http://www.thamesisis.org.uk/churches/our_lady_abingdon/our_community/diary/images/Our%20Lady%20of%20Abingdon%201.jpeg
 Image:thamesisis.org.uk

The Mass, in the chapel on the south side of the church, was a votive of St Edmund of Abingdon, and the vestments were obviously ones that the FSSP had brought with them. At the end we were able to venerate a relic of St Edmund, but I feel compelled to add that the reliquary was in obvious need of polishing.

We were I must add made welcome by the parish, and after Mass had our packed lunches in the excellent parish centre which is adjacent to the church.

After lunch we returned to to make an examination of conscience, to formally process through the Holy Door, and concluded with Benediction including the recitation of the Rosary.

King of Sweden at 70


Today is the seventieth birthday of the King of Sweden and this is an account of the celebrations from the website Royal Central. I am reproducing it because unless you subscribe to such links the British press give scant coverage to such events abroad.


                    H.M. The King of Sweden
                      Image:hellomagazine.com

At 08:00 the final day of a week-long birthday celebration for The King began with 43 Swedish flags being raised on Skeppsbron accompanied by a soundtrack of the Life Guards Music Corps. A traditional Te Deum thanksgiving service in the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace of Stockholm followed at 10:00. At 10:25 the Swedish Navy’s Music Corps marched and performed a musical program in the Outer Courtyard and at 11:30 a changing of the guards ceremony was carried out by the Royal Guards. The presentations were open to members of the Swedish public and there was an opportunity for children to present flowers to The King before a twenty-one-gun salute was fired from Skeppsholmen.

The King and his family are scheduled to appear on the Lejonbacken Terrace for a choral tribute later today before The King and Queen travel by carriage in a royal procession from Mynttorget to Stockholm City Hall via Vasabron and Tegelbacken where they will attend a lunch arranged by the city of Stockholm.

A reception will be held at the Royal Palace this afternoon and will be attended by members of the Riksdag, the Cabinet and the county governors. The day’s birthday celebrations will conclude this evening with a royal banquet in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace. 

The week so far:

Official royal birthday celebrations began on Monday 25 April with a performance of ‘An Evening about the Baltic Sea – Hopefulness and Threats’ at the Royal Dramatic Theatre. The evening included short talks and discussions from well-known speakers and experts on the Baltic Sea and was attended by The King and Queen as well as Prince Carl Philip and Prince Daniel. The Swedish Navy’s Music Corps performed at the joint venture put on by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, the Royal Society of Naval Sciences, the Royal Dramatic Theatre, the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences and the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry.

On Tuesday 26 April, The King and Queen attended a birthday concert put on at the Royal Chapel at the Royal Palace by the Armed Forces Music Corps’. Hosted by Horace Engdahl the concert saw performances by Court Singer Karl-Magnus Fredriksson, the Swedish Navy's Music Corps (conducted by Andreas Hanson) and St Jakob's Chamber Choir (conducted by Gary Graden).

On Thursday 28 April a reception was held in Princess Sibylla’s Apartments to allow authorities, organisations and institutions an opportunity to congratulate The King on his birthday.

On Friday 29 April a reception was held at the Royal Palace for representatives of governmental authorities and NGO organisations which allowed them an opportunity to offer their congratulations to His Majesty The King. This was followed in the afternoon by a presentation in the Golden Foyer at the Royal Opera of a new cooperation between the royal artistic and humanistic academies—the Bernadotte Programme. The evening saw a concert at the Nordic Museum with performances from the Royal Opera and the Stockholm Concert Hall.

HM King Carl XVI Gustaf was born at Haga Palace at 10:20 on Tuesday 30 April 1946 to parents Prince Gustaf Adolf, Duke of Västerbotten and Princess Sibylla of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, Sweden’s future King Carl XVI Gustaf was the fifth child and first son, joining older sisters Margaretha, Birgitta, Désirée and Christina.

He became King of Sweden at 27 years old following the death of his grandfather in Helsingborg on 15 September 1973. His father had tragically died in airplane crash in 1947.  He took the royal oath in front of the Swedish Government in the Cabinet Meeting Room on Wednesday, 19 September before appearing in front of the Riksdag, the diplomatic corps and the Royal Court in the Hall of State at the Royal Palace of Stockholm.

He met Miss Silvia Renate Sommerlath at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich where she was working as an interpreter and hostess for the games. Their engagement was announced on 12 March 1976 at the Royal Palace of Stockholm and they were married in Stockholm Cathedral on Saturday 19 June 1976.

The King and Queen have three children (Crown Princess Victoria, born 14 July 1977, Prince Carl Philip, born 13 May 1979, and Princess Madeleine, born 10 June 1982) and five grandchildren (Princess Estelle, born 23 February 2012, Princess Leonore, born 20 February 2014, Prince Nicolas, born 15 June 2015, Prince Oscar, born 2 March 2016 and Prince Alexander, born 19 April 2016).
Quite apart from wishing His Majesty well on his birthday I like to reflect that when he succeeded to the throne in 1973 the media commentators were writing off the Swedish monarchy - the age difference between the King and his grandfather, the social democratic culture of the country, its 'progressive' nature and the proposed revision of the Instrument of Government ( not in fact as we were told a 'new constitution' and introduced in 1974 ) - all presaged the end of the monarchy.  Well not so far, and with his Queen at his side and with his children and grandchildren King Carl XVI Gustaf can be seen as a successful contemporary exponent of the art of kingship. Moreover, for all the talk of Scandinavian monarchies being low key, as the report above makes clear the Swedish Crown is suitably ceremonious as and when it celebrates.

Greater coat of arms of Sweden (without ermine mantling).svg 

The Royal Arms of Sweden 

Image:Wikipedia

Friday, 29 April 2016

A discovery in Scotland


The BBC News website has a report about the discovery by archaeologists who believe they have uncovered the remains of the medieval Borders chapel where William Wallace was appointed Guardian of Scotland in 1297. This was the Kirk o' the Forest in Selkirk. its foundations appear to lie under other ruins.



The report can be read at  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-south-scotland-36158808

St Catherine of Siena



 



 






 


Today is the feast of St Catherine of Siena and John Dillon posted the following images of her on the Medieval Religion discussion group:

The mystic and visionary Catherine of Siena was born in 1347, the umpteenth daughter of a Sienese wool-dyer and his wife.  A professed virgin since childhood, she became a Dominican tertiary at the age of eighteen, living very ascetically and engaging in acts of charity to the sick and the poor.  In 1370 she received a series of visions that impelled her to enter public life.  Catherine then carried on a lengthy correspondence with Pope Gregory XI, touching on many matters and urging church reform.  In 1375 Catherine received the Holy Stigmata.  In 1376 she was in Avignon and from 1378 until her death in 1380 she lived at Rome.

Catherine was buried in her order's Roman church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva.  The subject of an immediately posthumous cult, she has a very impressive Vita (BHL 1702) by her confessor, Bl. Raymond of Capua, who as prior of the Dominican convent erected her first funerary monument in 1380.  The monument was modified in 1430; in 1466 Catherine was translated to her present resting place before the high altar.  Herewith some views of Catherine's tomb in Santa Maria sopra Minerva, with its sculpture of her from 1430 reposing on a sarcophagus added in 1461, the year of her canonization by her fellow Sienese, Pius II:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rayflynn/2034595233/
http://tinyurl.com/26azt4r
http://tinyurl.com/2c5jcpl

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/0/0d/Caterina_sopra_Minerva.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/2c5jcpl

A distance view:
http://tinyurl.com/gv69w2t

Since 1384 Siena's basilica di San Domenico (a.k.a. Basilica Cateriniana) has had Catherine's head:
http://tinyurl.com/hdg6sxd
http://www.vittoe.com/0205a/p5294692.jpg

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Head_of_Saint_Catherine_of_Siena.jpg
 
http://tinyurl.com/zzabyy2

It also possesses one of her fingers:


http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-5wFdnOeFP1o/UX2Tps6INyI/AAAAAAAAems/nei3OEj7kQM/s1600/Finger+der+hl.+Katharina.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/hfxrsmg

Catherine was named a Doctor of the Church in 1970.  Along with Francis of Assisi, she is a primary patron of Italy.  In 1999 she was proclaimed a patron saint of Europe.


Some period-pertinent images of St. Catherine of Siena:

a) as depicted by the Sienese artist Andrea Vanni in a late fourteenth-century fresco (c. 1390) in the basilica di San Domenico in Siena:
http://images.alinari.it/img/480/CAL/CAL-F-002341-0000.jpg

 http://www.toscanadinico.com/home/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/6.-Intorno-a-Santa-Caterina-da-Siena2.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/jfk7tkf

b) as depicted (at left; at right, St. Cecilia) by Beato Angelico in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting (between 1420 and 1429) in The Courtauld Gallery, London:
http://static.artuk.org/w944h944/NGS/NGS_NGS_NG_1030.jpg

c) as depicted (with a donor before the BVM and Christ Child) in an earlier fifteenth-century panel painting from Lombardy (c. 1440) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:



http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/459040

d) as depicted (receiving the stigmata) by Henri d'Orquevaulz in an earlier fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Metz (c. 1440; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 10533, fol. 134v):

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10318624f/f274.highres

http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10318624f/f274.item

e) as depicted by the Sienese artist Sano di Pietro in a mid-fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1442) in the Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/af/Sano_di_Pietro_-_Heilige_Catharina_van_Siena.JPG

http://tinyurl.com/gwp32xf

f) as depicted in a later fifteenth-century fresco in the (ex-) chiesa di San Pietro in Carpignano Sesia
(NO) in Piedmont:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c6/Carpignano_Sesia_Immagine_Chiesa_Caterina_da_Siena.JPG

http://tinyurl.com/5792wp

g) as depicted (receiving the stigmata) in a later fifteenth-century copy of her Vita by Bl. Raymond of Capua (Carpentras, Bibliothèque municipale Inguimbertine, ms. 472, fol. 2v):


http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht4/IRHT_074283-p.jpg

http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht4/IRHT_074283-p.jpg

h) as depicted by the Sienese artist Giovanni di Paolo in a later fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1462) in Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum:


http://ids.lib.harvard.edu/ids/view/43182073?width=3000&height=3000

http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/231676

i) as depicted (scenes from her Vita) by the Sienese artist Giovanni di Paolo in a series of later fifteenth-century predella paintings (c. 1462-1470) now in several different museums:

a) receiving the Dominican habit (Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art):


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8e/Giovanni_di_Paolo_-_Santa_Caterina_da_Siena_investita_con_l'abito_domenicano.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/zzyou2w

b) clothing Christ disguised as a beggar (Cleveland, Cleveland Museum of Art):



http://www.clevelandart.org/art/1966.3

c) exchanging her heart with that of Jesus (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art):


http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/ep/original/DT508.jpg

http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/ep/original/DT508.jpg

d) her mystic marriage (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art):


http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/ep/original/DT507.jpg
 
http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/ep/original/DT507.jpg
 
e) her miraculous communion (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art):


http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/images/hb/hb_32.100.95.jpg

http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/images/hb/hb_32.100.95.jpg

f) receiving the stigmata (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art):


http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/rl/original/DP366040.jpg

http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/rl/original/DP366040.jpg
g) beseeching Christ to resuscitate her mother (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art):


http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/rl/original/DP366038.jpg

http://images.metmuseum.org/CRDImages/rl/original/DP366038.jpg
h) before the Pope in Avignon (Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza):


http://www.wga.hu/art/g/giovanni/paolo/1/avignon.jpg

http://www.wga.hu/art/g/giovanni/paolo/1/avignon.jpg

j) as depicted in a panel of a later fifteenth-century glass window (Bay 23; c. 1470) in the église Notre-Dame in Carentan (Manche):



http://therosewindow.com/pilot/Carenton/w23-c2.htm
The window as a whole:
http://www.mesvitrauxfavoris.fr/index_htm_files/351134.jpg
http://therosewindow.com/pilot/Carenton/w23-Frame.htm

k) as depicted (at far right) in a late fifteenth-century predella panel painting of Dominican saints in the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar:


http://www.musee-unterlinden.com/assets/images/_nouveau_mecenat/DSC_0024.JPG

http://www.musee-unterlinden.com/assets/images/_nouveau_mecenat/DSC_0024.JPG

l) as depicted (receiving the stigmata) in a late fifteenth-century book of hours for the Use of Autun (c. 1480-1490; Autun, Bibliothèque d'Autun, ms. 269, fol. 170v):


http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht7/IRHT_107589-p.jpg

http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht7/IRHT_107589-p.jpg


m) as depicted (at left, flanking the BVM and Christ Child; at right, St. Sebastian) by the Sienese artist Matteo di Giovanni in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1480-1490) in the Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC:


https://www.columbiamuseum.org/sites/default/files/styles/customstyle/public/1962_11.jpg?itok=eUgDLZrZ

http://tinyurl.com/hd8pd5c

n) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Catherine of Alexandria; their mystical marriages) by Ambrogio Bergognone in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1490) in the National Gallery, London:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/1b/Bergognone_007.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/jswxygt

o) as depicted by Carlo Crivelli in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1490) in the Musée du Petit Palais, Avignon:


http://www.wga.hu/art/c/crivelli/carlo/candele3.jpg

http://www.wga.hu/art/c/crivelli/carlo/candele3.jpg
p) as depicted (her mystic marriage) by Giovan Pietro Birago in the late fifteenth-century Sforza Hours (between c.1490 and 1494; London, BL, Add MS 34294, vol. 3, fol.  209v):
http://www.bl.uk/manuscripts/Viewer.aspx?ref=add_ms_34294_f209v
Are those bunny pellets at lower left?

q) as depicted by Domenico Ghirlandaio and workshop in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (between 1490 and 1498; from his dismembered Tornabuoni altarpiece for Florence's basilica di Santa Maria Novella) in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich:



https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/16/Ghirlandaio%2C_santa_caterina_da_siena.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/hd2urhj

r) as portrayed by the Sienese painter and sculptor Neroccio di Bartolomeo de' Landi in a late fifteenth-century polychromed wooden statue (1494) in the oratorio di Santa Caterina in Siena:


http://www.aworldtowin.net/images/images255/RenaissanceW116.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/dfumfs

Detail view:
http://www.thais.it/scultura/image/ALTE/SRIN_340.htm

s) as depicted (as spiritual guide of the second and third orders of Dominicans) by Cosimo Rosselli in a late fifteenth-century panel painting (c. 1499-1500) in the National Galleries of Scotland:


http://static.artuk.org/w944h944/NGS/NGS_NGS_NG_1030.jpg

http://static.artuk.org/w944h944/NGS/NGS_NGS_NG_1030.jpg

t) as depicted (surrounded by demons) in a  late fifteenth- or early sixteenth-century panel painting (c. 1500) in the National Museum in Warsaw:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f5/Lesser_Poland_St._Catherine_of_Siena.jpg

http://tinyurl.com/hyyrwgv

u) as depicted in the early sixteenth-century Hours of Frederick of Aragon (i.e. Federigo d'Aragona, king of [mostly mainland] Sicily, etc.; between 1501 and 1504; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 10532, fol. 368r):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8427228j/f372.item.zoom

v) as depicted (upper register; her canonization by Pope Pius II) by Pinturicchio in an early sixteenth-century fresco (between 1502 and 1507) in the Piccolomini Library in the cathedral of Siena:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e8/Pinturicchio%2C_liberia_piccolomini%2C_1502-07_circa%2C_Pio_II_canonizza_santa_Caterina_da_Siena_01.JPG

http://tinyurl.com/jjlhsxl

Detail view:


https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/64/Pinturicchio%2C_liberia_piccolomini%2C_1502-07_circa%2C_Pio_II_canonizza_santa_Caterina_da_Siena_02.JPG

http://tinyurl.com/hmy8zsv
w) as depicted (interceding with the devil on behalf of a dying sister) by the Sienese artist Girolamo di Benvenuto di Giovanni del Guasta in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (c. 1505) in Harvard University's Fogg Art Museum:


Saint Catherine Of Siena Intercedes With Christ To Release The Dying Sister Palmerina From Her Pact With The Devil

 
http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/art/229488

x) as depicted (upper register at center, between. SS. Peter Martyr and Margaret of Hungary) by Juan de Borgoña in an early sixteenth-century panel painting (c. 1515) in the Museo del Prado in Madrid:

http://imagencpd.aut.org/4DPict?file=20&rec=15.462&field=2




Here in Oxford the Oratory possesses in its relic collection a letter written by St Catherine, and which is on displayto mark her feast. I understand that the editors of a new definitive edition of her letters are due to visit the Oratory in the near future to copy it for inclusion in their project.



Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Mother Teresa Exhibition


Last week and this the Oxford Oratory has been hosting an exhibition about the life of Bl.Teresa of Calcutta in preparation for her canonisation in September. Today I was acting as steward for part of the day and it was my first opportunity to look at the displays which have been set out in the Oratory Library.

In addition to a series of boards which ell the story of Bl.Teresa's life with photographs and quotations there are also relics, including her sari and manuscript letters and notes - such was the chosen poverty she espoused that she wrote letters on the backs of envelopes she had received - as well as momentos of her visits to this country.

I learned from the displays and  they provid emuch food for thought about mother Teresa's vocation, and indeed what any of us might consider such a sense to be. It is the story of a remarkable life and of great faithfulness in the experience of the 'Dark Night' of the soul. The growth of the Missionaries of Charity from that one nun setting off into the slums of Calcutta in 1948 to  having over 500 houses by the time she died in 1997 is in itself a recognition of the power of her example and faith, and reminiscent of the growth of other Orders in past centuries.

Each day the exhibition is open there is a film shown about her life, which mixes coverage of her funeral with reflections on her mission and that of any Christian which she recorded in her later years.

A very well worth while exhibition, and one designed to encourage prayer and reflection.


Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Nation that Forgot God


My friend Alex Haydon sent the following message round the other day, which I think worth sharing:

" As it is St George's Day, I felt this was a fitting occasion to tell you about the book I recently revised and re-edited with Sir Edward Leigh.

Described by the Catholic Times when first published as ' a modern classic on the state we are in' and 'a book to be read by all who are concerned with the present state of the Christian religion', The Nation that Forgot God was re-published in February by Gracewing. With 12 chapters by distinguished thinkers, including contributions by the late Sufi writer, singer and composer Shusha Guppy, and by Roger Scruton (who called Guppy in his obituary 'one of the most talented women of her generation'), it is, as its subtitle says, 'a Chorus of Challenge to the Secular Establishment'.

With a substantial and characteristically outspoken new foreword by Cardinal Pell, 2 fresh chapters replacing ones from the first edition - including one by Bishop Philip Egan on 'Secularism as a Christian heresy' - and a substantial rewrite of Sir Edward's original chapter on the 'Grave Symptoms' of Britain's secular sickness, as well as some further stylistic improvements and updates throughout, it is described by the publisher as 'a forthright, succinct and readable analysis of the nature and consequences of secularisation, including a wittily acerbic history of its ideological evolution. But', please note, 'this is not just a social history: it is also a guide to how we as individuals can change history.'

Owing to Cardinal Pell's comments on the legalisation of same-sex marriage in the foreword, the Catholic Herald online ran the following report:

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/02/18/cardinal-pell-says-david-cameron-has-adopted-a-poisonous-form-of-radical-moral-liberalism/

Inevitably controversial, as must be any book that seriously challenges the assumptions of secular humanism, and particularly so over modern notions of marriage, it also contains an invitation to agnostic readers to consider adopting 'assumism':

'Assumism accepts that religion is incapable of proof. We should throw ourselves over the precipice of uncertainty and plunge into the waters of belief. Read the Scriptures, practise them and then experience the great unfolding of joy that comes. ... It is not simply an abstract idea; it arises from my own experience of persevering in faith in spite of my doubts. ... It almost boils down to: just try acting as if it was true, and see what happens. What have you got to lose?' (Sir Edward Leigh: 'Introduction: the Virtues of Assumism').

It would be very gratifying if some of you decided to buy a copy, but I shan't be offended if you don't!

NB If you google 'nation forgot God', the first 2 results bring up a link to the first edition, published by the Social Affairs Unit. You are of course perfectly entitled to buy a copy of that if you wish, but I feel very strongly that you are likely to prefer the 2nd edition, by Gracewing (3rd result when I tried it today) - it has the new foreword and chapters, is more up-to-date statistically and generally more readable, as well as having a better-looking cover.

For those with access to sales outlets (this applies to two or three recipients), I would of course be delighted if you chose to order a few copies.

For those who have already bought a copy, thank you for your interest. I hope you have enjoyed reading it. Do tell your friends about it if so!"


  Image: Amazon

The Clever Boy would merely add that he thinks it a pity that Gracewing did not provide this important set of essays with a more eye-catching cover to make it stand out on the shelves in bookshops ( if anyone does still buy books in shops rather than online - well, of course we know they do, especially in church based outlets ).






Saturday, 23 April 2016

Celebrating St George


Today has been the feast of St George and as he is our national patron here in England a feastday I am always keen to observe.

One way I do so as an individual is by wearing on the day a lapel badge which is a reproduction of a medieval pilgrimage badge from St George's Windsor showing St George and the Dragon. I got this at the British Museum exhibition on Saints and relics the other year.

Yesterday evening I was able to attend at SS Gregory and Augustine an anticipated celebration of the feast with an EF Mass followed by veneration of a relic of St George.

This morning I was at the Oxford Oratory for their 10am Mass  and then this evening I was, in effect by chance, at  Blackfriars and attended their celebration of Mass. This was in a somewhat more traditional liturgical style than I have seen there hitherto - as a friend and I observed to each other more like the Oratory than we had seen there on other high days and holy days, and provided a dignified end to the celebrations. 

 

Image: Breviary.net 

St George, pray for us 

 

St George




John Dillon has posted on the Medieval Religion discussion group the following account of St George and his depiction in art:

We know nothing about the historical George.  Lydda (also Diospolis; later also Georgioupolis) in Palestine is now Lod in Israel.  George's cult seems to have arisen there at some time between the early fourth century and the early sixth.  This page on Lod has a good survey on George's cult there over the centuries:
http://198.62.75.1/www1/ofm/mad/discussion/086discuss.html
And the section on Lod on this page (toward bottom) has an illustrated introduction to the sequence of churches on the site:
http://198.62.75.1/www1/ofm/sbf/escurs/TS/02_TSen.html


Some period-pertinent images of St. George of Lydda:

a) as depicted (lower register at right, flanking the BVM and Christ Child; at left, St. Theodore of Amasea) in a sixth-century encaustic icon in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai in St. Catherine (South Sinai governorate):

 https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/1e/fc/58/1efc5804d1c63e5577b2603ed48a7071.jpg


b) as portrayed in relief (at left; at right, St. Eustachius / Eustathius) on a wing of the tenth-century Harbaville Triptych in the Musée du Louvre in Paris:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Triptych_Harbaville_Louvre_OA3247_n1.jpg


c) as portrayed in relief in an eleventh-century steatite icon in the Vatopedi Monastery at Mount Athos:

 https://korenios.files.wordpress.com/2015/12/st-george-vatopedi-monastery-athos-greece-11cad-v2.jpg?w=410&h=566


d) as depicted in the eleventh-century frescoes of the church of Agios Georgios Diasoritis near Chalki on Naxos:
http://www.azalas.de/bilder/2012-02/P1200833-1_450

e) as depicted in an earlier twelfth-century Novgorod School icon (1130s-1140s) in the State Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow:
http://tinyurl.com/2byzm9y
NB: Three pages of expandable views of many other twelfth- to sixteenth-century Russian icons of George begin here:
http://tinyurl.com/2wcl5cc

f) as portrayed in high relief (slaying the dragon) by Nicholaus in the lunette of the central portal of the earlier twelfth-century facade (1135) of the the basilica cattedrale di San Giorgio in Ferrara:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a8/Ferrara,_duomo,_nicholaus,_lunetta_04.JPG


g) as depicted (in the roundel at top centre) in the mid-twelfth-century mosaics in the church of Santa Maria dell'Ammiraglio (a.k.a. chiesa della Martorana) in Palermo:
http://tinyurl.com/23oba3r

h) as depicted (slaying the dragon) in the later twelfth-century frescoes (betw. 1176 and 1200) in the church of St. George in Staraya Ladoga in Russia's Leningrad oblast:
http://www.icon-art.info/hires.php?lng=en&type=1&id=1191

i) as depicted in a probably late twelfth-century votive painting, funded by a horse tamer, in the narthex of the church of the Panagia Phorbiotissa at Asinou (Nicosia prefecture) in the Republic of Cyprus:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d0/Asinou_-_Kirche_Narthex_2_St.Georg.jpg

NB: This image has also been dated to the repainting of the narthex in 1332/1333.

j) as depicted on a seemingly earlier to mid-thirteenth-century map of part of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean (c.1234-1266; Lyon, Bibliothèque municipale, ms. 175, sheet 4:
http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht8/IRHT_125804-p.jpg

k) as depicted (the torture of the wheel of swords) in a later thirteenth-century Cistercian psalter (c. 1260; Besançon, Bibliothèques municipales, ms. 54, fol. 20r):

 http://www.enluminures.culture.fr/Wave/savimage/enlumine/irht5/IRHT_083249-p.jpg


l) as twice depicted in the later thirteenth-century frescoes (either c.1263-1270 or slightly later) in the chapel of St. George in the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in Serbia:
1) martyrdom:
http://tinyurl.com/ykdjchv
2) disarticulation of his relics:
http://tinyurl.com/ygqs9s5

m) as depicted in the later thirteenth-century frescoes (either c.1263-1270 or slightly later) in the chapel of St. Symeon Nemanja in the monastery church of the Holy Trinity at Sopoćani (Raška dist.) in Serbia:
http://tinyurl.com/yf8u46h
Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/ybxkrac

n) as depicted (the torture of the wheel of swords) in a late thirteenth-century copy of French origin of the Legenda aurea (San Marino, CA, Huntington Library, ms. HM 3027, fol. 49r):
http://digitalassets.lib.berkeley.edu/ds/huntington/images//000867A.jpg

o) as depicted by Eutychios and Michael Astrapas in the late thirteenth-century frescoes (c.1295) in the church of the Peribleptos (now Sv. Kliment Ohridski) in Ohrid:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Paintings_in_the_Church_of_the_Theotokos_Peribleptos_of_Ohrid_053.jpg

Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/j3vtvvd

p) as depicted (with the Princess of Trebizond) in a fourteenth-century wall painting in the church of All Saints in Little Kimble (Bucks):

 St. George & the Princess, Little Kimble (100KB)
The link has more details about the painting

q) as depicted (upper register; lower register: Sts. John of Damascus and Ephraem the Syrian) in an earlier fourteenth-century panel painting in the Holy Monastery of the God-trodden Mount Sinai in St. Catherine (South Sinai governorate):
http://tinyurl.com/5ctk4u

r) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1313 and 1318; conservation work in 1968) by Michael Astrapas and Eutychios in the church of St. George at Staro Nagoričane in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f0/Frescos_in_St._George%27s_Church_%28Staro_Nagoricane%29_0122.jpg

Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/hy5vylh

s) as depicted in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1315 and 1321) in the parekklesion of the Chora church in Istanbul:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/21711359@N08/3923046478/lightbox/
Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/j3jww5f

t) as depicted (two scenes: the torture of the wheel of swords; his execution) in an earlier fourteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (c.1326-1350; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 185, fol. 90r):
http://tinyurl.com/goymvm9

u) as depicted (at left: casting down idols; at right: slaying the dragon) in the earlier fourteenth-century frescoes (between 1335 and 1350) in the chapel of St. George in the church of the Holy Ascension at the Visoki Dečani monastery near Peć in, depending on one's view of recent events, the Republic of Kosovo or Serbia's Kosovo province:

 

Two pages of expandable views of the cycle of St. George in this chapel start here:
http://tinyurl.com/jjw2xrq

v) as depicted by Vitale da Bologna in a mid-fourteenth-century fresco in the Pinacoteca nazionale di Bologna:

 http://www.wga.hu/art/v/vitale/stgeorge.jpg


w) as depicted (slaying the dragon) in a mid-fourteenth-century copy, from the workshop of Richard and Jeanne de Montbaston, of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1348; Paris, BnF, ms. Français 241, fol. 101v):
http://tinyurl.com/zm73cs3

x) as depicted (slaying the dragon, with a capable assist by his intrepid steed) by Giovanni di Benedetto and workshop in a late fourteenth-century Franciscan missal of Milanese origin (ca. 1385-1390; Paris, BnF, ms. Latin 757, fol. 327v):
http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b8470209d/f658.item.r=.zoom

y) as depicted (slaying the dragon) by the Master of 1388 (attrib.) in the later fourteenth-century frescoes in the chiesa di San Giorgio in Lemine at Almenno San Salvatore (BG) in Lombardy:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/Affresco_-_%22San_Giorgio_e_la_Principessa%22,_attribuito_al_%22Maestro_del_1388%22.jpg

z) as depicted (slaying the dragon) in a late fourteenth-century copy of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (1382; London, BL, Royal MS 19 B XVII, fol. 109r):

 George


aa) as depicted (slaying the dragon) in a panel of an earlier fifteenth-century altarpiece (c. 1420) from Valencia in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London:
http://tinyurl.com/yfgl2a4

bb) as depicted (hearing the prayers of the Duke of Bedford) in the earlier fifteenth-century Bedford Hours (c. 1423; London, BL, Add. MS 18850, fol. 256v):
http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/sacredtexts/images/zoomify/bedfordzoom.html

cc) as depicted (with the princess of Trebizond) in an earlier fifteenth-century fresco (late 1430s), variously ascribed to Pisanello or to his collaborator Gentile da Fabriano, in the cappella Pellegrini in Verona's chiesa di Sant'Anastasia:

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e9/Pisanello_-_St._George_Liberating_the_Princess_of_Trebizond_-_Pellegrini-Chapel_in_Saint_Anastasia,_Verona.jpg

Numerous detail views are accessible from here:
http://www.artcyclopedia.com/commons/pisanello.html

dd) as depicted (slaying the dragon) by the Master of Catherine of Cleves in an earlier fifteenth-century prayer book from Utrecht (1438; Den Haag, Museum Meermanno, cod. 10 F 1, fol. 210v):
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB%3Amimi_mmw_10e1%3A082v_min

ee) as depicted (slaying the dragon) by Jost Haller in a detail of a painting from his mid-fifteenth-century Tempelhof Altarpiece (c.1445) in the Musée Unterlinden in Colmar:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c4/Jost_Haller_-_Saint_George_slaying_the_dragon%2C_Unterlinden_Museum%2C_Colmar.jpg

The painting as a whole:

 http://www.mishanita.ru/data/images/Alsace_2010/Tempelhof-Altar.jpg


ff) as depicted in grisaille (slaying the dragon) by Jean le Tavernier in the mid-fifteenth-century Hours of Philip of Burgundy (c. 1451-1460; Den Haag, KB, ms. 76 F 2, fol. 258v):
http://manuscripts.kb.nl/zoom/BYVANCKB%3Amimi_76f2%3A258v_min

gg) as depicted (slaying the dragon) by Carlo Crivelli in a panel painting from his dismembered later fifteenth-century Porta San Giorgio altarpiece (1470) in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston:

 http://www.gardnermuseum.org/FILE/5917.jpg?w=800&h=750


hh) as depicted (at center, slaying the dragon) in a later fifteenth-century glass window (1470) in the St. Laurentiuskirche in Usingen (Lkr. Hochtaunuskreis) in Hessen:

 http://www.tz-usingen.de/storage/pic/importe/fnpartikel/rhein-main/usingen/894706_1_GlasfensterArnoldshain_2_4c.jpg?version=1421875238

Detail view:
http://tinyurl.com/zhf94jb

ii) as depicted (slaying the dragon) in a late fifteenth-century copy (c. 1480-1490) of the Legenda aurea in its French-language version by Jean de Vignay (Paris, BnF, ms. Français 244, fol. 125v):

 


jj) as portrayed (slaying the dragon) by Jan Mertens in a late fifteenth-century partly gilt wooden sculpture (1486) in the Sint-Leonarduskerk in Zoutleeuw (Vlaams-Brabant):

 
Detail view:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/roelipilami/2651856675/

kk) as portrayed by Andrea della Robbia in a late fifteenth-century polychrome ceramic relief (1495) in the pieve di San Giorgio at Brancoli (LU) in Tuscany:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/fa/Pieve_di_brancoli%2C_andrea_della_robbia%2C_san_giorgio%2C_la_principessa_e_il_drago_01.JPG

ll) as depicted (slaying the dragon) in the early sixteenth-century fresco cycle devoted to him (1507) in the earlier fifteenth-century Nibe kirke in Nibe (Aalborg Kommune) in Nordjylland:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/St_Georg_and_dragon.jpg

The remainder of the cycle:
http://tinyurl.com/28h6v9n
http://tinyurl.com/28mdc7x

mm) as depicted (at right; at left, St. Eustachius / Eustathius) by Hans Süss of Kulmbach in an early sixteenth-century pen-and-ink drawing (c. 1511) in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York:
http://www.metmuseum.org/collection/the-collection-online/search/376653

nn) as portrayed in relief (second from left) on the early sixteenth-century tomb of the Kurfürstin Anna (1512) in the Münster St. Marien und Jakobus in Heilsbronn (Lkr. Ansbach) in Bavaria:

 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f7/Heilsbronn_M%C3%BCnster_-_Grab_der_Markgr%C3%A4fin_Anna_04.jpg



Madeleine Gray added these notes and images of the wall painting of St George at Llancarfon in south Wales:

There are photos on http://www.walesonline.co.uk/lifestyle/nostalgia/welsh-history-month-lost-treasures-7852432 and Ellie Pridgeon;s wallpaintings web site at https://medievalwallpaintings.wordpress.com/2013/12/26/project-update-st-cadocs-church-llancarfan-vale-of-glamorgan/ ; the church web site leads to some rather out of date interpretative material at http://www.stcadocs.org.uk/en/home.html (conservation has uncovered a lot more since that photo was talen): and there's a short film with rather basic commentary at http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/magazine-25214557

Rev.Gordon Plumb added these images of English medieval stained glass depictions of St George:

Brinsop, St George, Herefordshire, east window, 2b, St George, 1st half 14thc:

Gloucester Cathedral, East window, figure on right, c.1350-60:

Long Sutton, St Mary, Lincolnshire, sVI, 2b-3b, c.1380-90:

Trull, All Saints, Somerset, sII, 2c, 15thc:

Wells Cathedral,NII, 2b-3b:

York Minster, nXVII, 2a, 15thc.:

Stanford-on-Avon, St Nicholas, Northamptonshire, sVI, 2a, 15thc.:

Oxford, Merton College, West window, 15thc.:

St Winnow, St Winnow, Cornwall, sII, 5a-7a, 15thc.:

York Minster, nXX, lower part of George and dragon, 15thc.:

Fairford, St Mary, Gloucestershire, nVIII, B2 c.1500-1515:

Barton upon Humber, St Peter (in store with English Heritage in York):

Bowness-on-Windermere, St Martin, Cumbria, East window, 2b-4b, 15thc.:

Doddiscombsleigh, St Michael, Devon, nIV, 2b, 15thc.: