Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Sarum Candlemas 01

For a while I worked as a priest in Oxford, and there became involved in a couple of celebrations of the Use of Sarum. Both were videod, in an amateurish way, and I thought it worth posting at least some of this to YouTube, where you can still see those posts of the Coronation of Pope John XXIII that I posted last year. A clip from the offertory of the second Sarum Mass (Candlemas 1997) was posted to YouTube a while ago, and much appreciated; now it seems time to put up some more.
The Sarum Use is the mediæval English rite of most mediæval English dioceses, and by the close of Catholic England at the death of Queen Mary was the Use for the whole country (Henry VIII had made it compulsory for everyone, and I don't suppose Hereford, Bangor &c did much to revive their own Uses, unless anyone out there knows different).
The Sarum Use is notable for great sumptuosness, being far more elaborate than, say a Tridentine Mass. On greater occasions, such as Candlemas, it has four vested sacred ministers (Priest, Deacon, Subdeacon and Acolyte—candle bearers are known as Taperers).
In the entrance procession you can see here a Beadle with gown and rod, three processional crosses (the central one carried by the Acolyte), two thuribles, acolytes, banners, assisting clergy, three cantors in copes (the 'rulers of the choir'), MC (probably not authentic, but necessary in view of the fact that we hadn't done this regularly) sacristan carrying the to-be-blessed paschal candle, Subdeacon, Deacon and Priest behind each other despite the fact that the celebrant wears a cope. Vestments are white throughout (whereas the custom at Rome until 1962 was to do the blessing and procession in purple).
First, the church's candles are blessed with a lot of rapid Latin prayers at the Epistle side (the Sarum 'South Horn'). These differ from the Roman use, and include a preface-style prayer sung to the Sarum simple tone. The ordinary chants of the Mass do differ a bit.
The ritual is very clearly laid out in extant books, even with Fortuescue-type diagrams to show where everyone should stand. Therefore, I am confident that the ceremony you will see in these clips is at least 85%-90% authentically 'as it would have been.' Most of the things we couldn't get right were to do with the shape of some of the vestments, for instance—those are firmly Roman copes that the Rulers of the Choir are wearing) and occasions where the rubrics aren't clear and we had to make an educated guess.
There are no genuflections in the Sarum Use—or at least none are mentioned in the books. It is possible that by 1558 they would have been introduced. But we stuck by the book.
The clip ends just as the celebrant turns to bless the people's candles, which they hold in their hands—only the clergy receive them directly from the priest.

4 comments:

berenike said...

Was this the Mass after which the Catholic chaplain got a very snotty letter from the Vatican?

:-)

Pastor in Valle said...

So I understand. Snotty or not, it was a shame that the sender did not do his homework first.

Ottaviani said...

Is that Alex Anderson leading the procession there?!

Pastor in Valle said...

Ottaviani: yes.