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 30 March 2023

Passiontide Veiling

I recently posted about the long standing tradition of veiling the reredos of churches, or even the whole sanctuary of a church in Lent, linking my article to a piece on the Liturgical Arts Journal . My article can be seen at The Lenten Veil

There have now been other posts about the more specific veiling associated with Passiontide. The first, which promises to be one of a series, is of individual churches which have put veils in place this year, and is from the New Liturgical Movement. It can be seen at Photopost Request: Passiontide Veils 2023

The Liturgical Arts Journal returns to the subject with a piece about the history of the practice and it can be seen at The Custom of Passiontide Veiling

As someone who is used to the custom both in my Anglican days and as a Catholic it is an eminently laudable practice. When I was churchwarden at St Thomas the Martyr in Oxford in 2004 I took it upon myself to restore the custom and did so single handed on the Saturday morning before Passion Sunday. The exceptions were the reredos, which was too high and inaccessible and one other painting of the Risen Christ which was also beyond my reach. Suffering as I do from vertigo, I did not wish to fall and become myself a martyr to liturgical good practice. That final part of the process was accomplished by the honorary assistant priest the following day. All of which was somewhat of a faff and took up my Saturday morning, but was ultimately something which was eminently rewarding to see once completed.

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