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, 8 October 2021

The historic Cistercian Liturgy

Shawn Tribe has, as one expects from him, a very interesting post on the Liturgical Arts Journal about the traditional usages of the Cistercian Order for the celebration of Mass. 

Accompanied by some fine photographs the article outlines how the austere and distinctive practice of the Order developed, particularly after 1570, and how it retained many liturgical customs that were different to the main Roman Rite, even as the Order came to incorporate elements from that tradition.

Looking at it I thought not only of the loss of diversity in recent generations but also of what it would have been like to witness Mass at Fountains, Rievaulx, Tintern and countless other medieval Cistercian sites desacrated and destroyed in the sixteenth century. As a son of Yorkshire with its great collection of Cistercian sites this was forceful, the more so as one of my ancestors worked for the abbey at Roche up to the time of its dissolution. He was based some forty odd miles away as an estate bailiff but he must surely have visited the monastery on occasion and seen something of its life and worship.

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