Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Sarum Memories

I've just noticed that the reconstituted Valle Adurni blog is running an extensive series of videos of Candlemas celebrated according to the Sarum Usage. The Mass was held in the late thirteenth century chapel of Merton College, Oxford back in 1997, with the consent of the late Archishop Maurice Couve de Murville and the College authorities.

The footage brings back many happy memories. I was MC - it was my penultimate term at Oxford and you can see me eagerly wandering around the sanctuary. The previous year's Sarum High Mass for the Translation of St Frideswide had been the highlight of my term as President of the University's Newman Society. A video of this exists somewhere so I hope that that will be Fr Sean's next project. Looking at the clips now, I'm reminded that the majority of the servers later entered either a novitiate or a seminary, and that many of them were ordained - including a Dominican, an Oratorian and a member of the Community of St John. It's amusing to see two English seminarians being bold enough to sit in choir, though I've got a feeling neither were ordained.

The above video shows the Canon, with the curious detail of the deacon and subdeacon being given lit candles for the consecration, and the striking cruciform gesture of the celebrant, which impressed me much at the time (though it's hard to make out on the video). I think I'm right in saying that it was pure coincidence (providence?) that the great bell of Merton started ringing at this supreme moment.

Anyway, thanks to Fr Sean for posting these videos and rekindling our interest once again in England's ancient liturgy.



Blogger Pastor in Monte said...

Actually, Father, I have to admit that we had negotiated the bell ringing with the college: however, the bell started too soon, and as it was just over a tone sharp of the Tallis Sanctus, it caused some consternation to the singers, as you can hear on one of the clips.
Great days.

6:37 am  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Another illusion from my student days shattered!

1:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wasn't Fr Finnegan disciplined at some point for celebrating this rite?

9:57 am  
Blogger Fr Nicholas said...

Not disciplined - the Masses were celebrated with the Archbishop's knowledge and consent - but afterwards the actual status of the Sarum Usage was questioned.

Since then, of course, Archbishop Mario Conti celebrated a Sarum Mass in Scotland.

Full details of the debate are on Fr Finnegan's blog.

11:15 am  

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