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.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Bl. Infante Sancho of Aragon and his chasuble

Today is the anniversary of the violent death of Bl. Infante Don Sancho of Aragon, Archbishop of Toledo, following the battle of Martos in 1275. The life of the twenty five year old Sancho, Archbishop since he was sixteen - now those were the days - is outlined by Wikipedia at Sancho of Aragon (archbishop of Toledo) The campaign on which he died is recounted at Battle of Martos

A tangible link with Bl. Sancho is one of his chasubles which survives in the cathedral at Toledo. Made of silk and cloth of gold is a spectacular display of the arms of Castile and Leon together with those of Aragon and Sicily.

Image: New Liturgical Movement

This is not the only such example of such an heraldic textile from thirteenth century Spain. In the collections at the Royal Palace in Madrid is a fragment from the emblazoned mantle of King Ferdinand III of Castile and Leon ( 1217/30-52 ) who was later canonised in 1671 as St Ferdinand. It can be seen here

A well known manuscript illumination shows King Alfonso X ( 1252-84 ) in similar garb:

King Alfonso X as a judge from his Libro de los jurgos, completed circa 1280

Image: Wikipedia 

As to how such a chasuble should - and indeed should not be worn - I recommend the following article by Shawn Tribe on the Liturgical Arts Journal website from 2018 which reproduces an illustrated 1957 article on the “dos and don’ts” of vesting in a conical chasuble and which can be seen at Sacristy Tips: How To Correctly Wear a Conical Chasuble

Bl. Emperor Charles

Today is the appointed day for the Feast of Bl. Charles of Austria. 


The Emperor Charles I of Austria - King Charles IV of Hungary

Image: Wikipedia 

Following on from the very successful and well-attended talk by the Emperor’s great grandson Archduke Imre about the life of the Emperor and his consort to the Oxford University Newman Society at the beginning of this year a group of us hoped to establish a local branch of the Kaiser Karl League of Prayer ( Gebetsliga ) to support his cause and that of the Servant of God the Empress Zita - today is the anniversary of their wedding in 1911. Unfortunately circumstances have not made it possible for us to do that yet, but we hope to in coming months. 

The Oxford Oratory has a relic of the Bl. Emperor - one of the few in this country - which was presented to it by the Imperial Family in recent years.

The website of the Gebetsliga can be seen at  Emperor Karl League of Prayer — Blessed Karl of Austria and they have a collection of prayers for the Cause at Prayers

Imperial Monogram of 
Emperor Charles I

Image: Wikipedia

The Gebetsliga website has these quotations from the Emperor:

  • "Now, we must help each other to get to Heaven." Addressing Empress Zita on 22 October 1911, the day after their wedding.
  • "I am an officer with all my body and soul, but I do not see how anyone who sees his dearest relations leaving for the front can love war." Addressing Empress Zita after the outbreak of World War I.
  • Privately, Charles left no doubt that he believed himself to be the rightful emperor. He wrote to Friedrich Gustav Piffl, the Archbishop of Vienna: "I did not abdicate, and never will [...] I see my manifesto of 11 November as the equivalent to a cheque which a street thug has forced me to issue at gunpoint [...] I do not feel bound by it in any way whatsoever."
  • "I have done my duty, as I came here to do. As crowned King, I not only have a right, I also have a duty. I must uphold the right, the dignity and honor of the Crown.... For me, this is not something light. With the last breath of my life I must take the path of duty. Whatever I regret, Our Lord and Saviour has led me." Addressing Cardinal János Csernoch after the defeat of his attempt to regain the Hungarian throne in 1921. The British Government had vainly hoped that the Cardinal would be able to persuade him to renounce his title as King of Hungary.
  • "I must suffer like this so my people will come together again." Spoken in Madeira, during his last illness.
  • "I can't go on much longer... Thy will be done... Yes... Yes... As you will it... Jesus!" Reciting his last words while contemplating a crucifix held by Empress Zita
Bl. Emperor Charles Pray for us

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Remembering Fr Jerome Bertram

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the death of Fr Jerome Bertram C.O., one of the founding Fathers of the Oxford Oratory. For such an Oxonian figure to depart on the Feast of St Frideswide and in the days following the canonisation of St John Henry Newman there was an elegance to his demise that would have, I suspect, have appealed to him. Today being ferial was set aside by the Oratory as his year-mind and all the Masses were requiems for him. I attended the 6pm celebration and the numbers attending were considerably more than has been usual on weekdays in recent months, a tribute in itself to Fr Jerome.

The other month I posted about him, and thought I would link to it again at The Monuments Man

I have also come across a post from last year by The Rad Trad which is a tribute to Fr Jerome and can be seen at Jerome Bertram, CO (RIP)

Fr Jerome is someone one is very conscious of missing and for whom one is very thankful for having known and been influenced by.

May he rest in peace

Monday, 19 October 2020

Feast of St Frideswide

Today is the Feast of St Frideswide, the founder of Oxford and the patron saint of both the city and the University.


                     St Frideswide
Fourteenth century glass in Christ Church Cathedral

Image: Lawrence Lew OP on Flickriver

There is a life of the saint from David Nash Ford’s Royal Berkshire History website at .RBH Biography: St. Frideswide (c. AD 665-735)

There is another account by a member of the Orthodox Church at the Pilgrim website which can be seen at St Frideswide of Oxford
I reproduced this, slightly adapted, in 2016 at 

The author of A Clerk of Oxford posted a Middle English poem in her honour together with a translation and a series of pictures of St Frideswide at The Feast of St Frideswide
in 2013. His first illustration is one I knew well in my time at the church of St Thomas the Martyr.

St Frideswide in a twentieth century chancel window in the church of St Thomas the Martyr, Oxford
with Christ Church cathedral behind her

image: A Clerk of Oxford

I posted about her relics in 2010 in St Frideswide and also about one example of contemporary expressions of devotion to her at Hymn to St Frideswide in 2011.

St Frideswide Pray for us

Sunday, 18 October 2020

St Luke’s Day

Today is the Feast of St Luke - or would be were it not a Sunday - and Gregory DiPippo has an article in the New Liturgical Movement about the Propers for the Feasts of the Evangelists in the medieval Dominican, Carmelite and Premonstratensian Breviaries - but not the Roman one, as he explains. His article can be read at The Proper Office of the Evangelists

He illustrated the article with this vigorous and splendid image of St Luke from the Gospel Book of the Emperor Otto III from circa 1000.

Image: New Liturgical Movement

More about a Thuringian warrior and his companions

Last month I posted A Migration era cemetery in Germany about the discovery of a major cemetery from the late fifth or early sixth century in Thuringia.  There is now a more recent article about the site and its occupants from LifeScience which seeks to eschew sensationalism as to the domestic arrangements of the most prominent burial and to show that the process of interpretation is still continuing. It can be seen at Germanic lord buried with a harem of 6? Not quite, but the real story is fascinating.

Fiat Lux!

The Oxford Oratory has posted on its website this picture of the Relic Chapel and the accompanying description:

The Relic Chapel has had something of a lighting upgrade this week making more of the beautiful paintings and making it possible for those praying there to see what they are doing!

Saturday, 17 October 2020

Looking foreword to Halloween

It is now mid-October and Halloween, All Saints and All Souls are fast approaching. With that in mind I will draw attention to a post by Claudio Salvucci. He had an article on the Liturgical Arts Journal in late September which is well worth looking at - together with another article by him from 2019 to which he links in it - and urges the restoration of the pre-1955 Vigil of All Saints. 

To further his case he has produced a devotional booklet to make the texts available as well as ancillary material about traditional popular devotions on the day and others to guard against the less appealing aspects of a modern “Halloween.” 

The liturgical texts can of course be accessed on Divinum Officium for those who say the Office or wish to read the traditional Mass lectionary online.