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, 11 November 2020

Taking Possession of the Lateran

Having written yesterday a few thoughts about the Archbasilica and Palace of the Lateran I recalled I had links to two articles by Zachary Thomas from the Liturgical Arts Journal, and which had been previously published on Canticum Salamonis, about the ancient ceremonies connected with a newly-elected Pope taking possession of his cathedral church, whether he was crowned there or at St Peter’s, or indeed elsewhere. It became the custom for the Pope after his crowning at the Vatican to process across Rome to the Lateran to take charge of the Archbasilica. Today the modified ceremony usually takes place a day or two later than the Coronation or ‘Inauguration’ ( sic).

As ceremonies they might seem somewhat unusual to a modern eye. Not being an advocate of change in such matters that does not trouble me, but rather one sees their distinctive nature as an insight into the development of the Papacy in the first millennium.

The first article in the series dealt with the flax burning ceremony associated with the Pspal Coronation, which is not specifically linked to the Lateran.

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