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.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

The Botafumeiro of Santiago

Yesterday's terrible train crash just outside the city will clearly overshadows celebrations in santiago de Compostela for St James' feast today. The vistims and their relatives are definitely people to keep in our prayers.

On a happier theme celebrations at Santaigo are noted for the use of the botafumeiro in the cathedral - the great thurible that fills the cathedral with incense. The great twelfth century church was inspired in its design by the abbey and traditions of Cluny.

In a sense the botafumeiro - Galician for thurible - is every thurifer's delight, and asuitably estravagent piece with which to celebrate a great festival.

There are various videos of the botafumeiro in action on YouTube. From those I have selected three to illustrate the use of this wonderful piece of liturgical paraphanalia:

Here is another video, with the clergy vested in red as for St James:

The third is a record of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI during the Santiago Holy Year and includes some good aerial shots of the cathedral:

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