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.

Friday, 7 August 2020

FSSP Vestments

The FSSP’s latest Minute Missive and the Liturgical Arts Journal the other day report on a spectacular set of vestments made for the Fraternity in Australia. I have copied and slightly adapted the LAJ post by Shawn Tribe as follows:

Recently, Altarworthy completed a new Solemn Mass Set that was commissioned by benefactors for (soon to be Father) Thomas Sofatzis, FSSP -- who will be ordained to the priesthood this Saturday, August 7th, in St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. 

Altarworthy offered LAJ a few comments on their recently completed work:
“This set is [is] very unusual visually -- a marriage of Greek-Brit-Roman... The blue insets under the hand embroidered goldwork are St. Margaret Mary damask from M. Perkins (crowns and Tudor roses). The color scheme is the FSSP gold and deep blue. The extensive embroideries were beautifully planned out by an FSSP seminarian and fully realized by our team.”

The shape of the chasuble itself has something of an early gothic revival feel to it, specifically some of the early work of Pugin, though it also has some echoes of the 17th century "Neri" shape as well. 

The colours, as noted, symbolically relate to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) -- and as I like to note, gold and blue always make for a very striking combination. Within the cross on the back of the chasuble are found images the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Chaste Heart of St. Joseph. 

The three hearts have a three dimensional quality to them, picking up on some of the techniques of the 19th century, particularly seen within the French tradition. 

Detail of the Immaculate Heart

The shield of the cope, which has Austrian influences within it (see the shape of the shield) includes the heraldic emblem of the FSSP, the crossed keys of St. Peter together with three tears:

Seen here as well are the dalmatic and tunicle which have some Spanish influences in their design:

Finally, the humeral veil includes the symbolic emblem of the Holy Spirit, the dove:

Some further details from the set:

A spectacular set all around with some very nice textural qualities, utilizing a very pleasing combination of colours. 

For more information, please see Altarworthy's website or visit them on social media.

The Clever Boy offers his prayers for the splendid work of FSSP and for the-soon-to-be Fr Sofatzis, and would compliment all involved in producing this set of vestments. One again is very heartening to see that such wonderful work is still being done in the service of the Almighty.

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