The History of the Folded Chasuble (Part 2)

We continue with the second part of Henri de Villiers’s article “Les chasubles pliés: Histoire et liturgie”, originally published in French on the website of the Schola Sainte Cécile

THE DISAPPEARANCE OF FOLDED CHASUBLES?

The generalized practice of cutting off the front part of the folded chasuble, which is certainly convenient, must have contributed to it being perceived as a vestment distinct from the celebrant’s chasuble, which was certainly not so in the beginning. Paradoxically, this might have contributed to disaffection with its use. In 1914, the Jesuit Braun [14] deplored the disappearance of folded chasubles throughout Germany. France was hardly better off at this time; although the published ceremonials continue to describe the use of folded chasubles, it is quite rare to find examples or even photographs of them in the 20th century). Their use seems to have endured more in Italy, in the Iberian Peninsula, and in the British Isles.

Already suppressed for the Paschal Vigil in the new experimental liturgies of 1951 and 1952, folded chasubles were entirely banished from Holy Week with the 1955 reforms, and violet and black dalmatics and tunicles put in their place; folded chasubles were still to be used during the rest of Lent and other penitential seasons. This anomaly ceased with the publication of the new code of rubrics in 1960, which stated at the end of the general rubrics that “folded chasubles and broad stoles are no longer used” [15].

Msgr Léon Gromier, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, remarked during his famous conference on the reforms of Holy Week:

Folded chasubles are one of the oldest characteristics of the Roman Rite; they go back to the time when all the clergy wore chasubles, and were retained for a most austere penance. Abandoning them makes a lie of the paintings in the catacombs. It is an immense loss, an outrage to history. They wrongly give this explanation to justify their misdeed: that folded chasubles are difficult to find. But the exact contrary is the case: one finds violet chasubles everywhere that can be folded, whereas violet dalmatics are much less widespread [16]. Besides, one always has the option of ministering in an alb.

We may add that it was a curious move to suppress folded chasubles at the same moment when a return to the ancient, more ample form of the chasuble was being promoted everywhere.

On the other hand, the usage of folded chasubles was never interrupted among the Anglo-Catholics (and perhaps its usage will be gradually restored by the various new ordinariates erected to receive these communities into the bosom of the Catholic Church). In addition, amidst the renaissance of liturgical studies among traditional Catholic communities one observes a growing number of people who are restoring the ancient use.

IN THE OTHER WESTERN RITES. The use of the folded chasuble is not limited to the Roman Rite. It is found, with variations, in the following liturgies:

1) The Ambrosian Rite: Folded chasubles are used during Advent, Lent, and the Major and Minor Litanies (i.e. Rogation Days, which take place on the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday after the Ascension in this rite, and during which ashes are imposed) and other fasting days throughout the year. As in the Roman rite, the subdeacon takes off his folded chasuble to chant the Epistle. The deacon rolls his up crosswise in the Roman way from the Gospel to the end of Communion. During Sundays of Lent, the deacon chants the very ancient litanies after the Ingressa at the beginning of the Mass; to do this, since it pertains to his proper ministry, he also rolls his chasuble crosswise. The liturgical colours differ from the Roman custom: dark violet during Advent and the Sundays of Lent, but the ferias of Lent are in black. The Major Litanies are in dark violet and the Minor are in black. During an exposition of the Blessed Sacrament on a day of penance, folded chasubles are obligatory, even in small churches. One notable difference with the Roman use is that during all of Holy Week (which begins on the eve of Palm Sunday, in Traditione Symboli) is celebrated in red and the dalmatic and tunicle are employed.

2) The Rite of Braga: The use is identical to the Roman rite, except for the procession of Palms when the dalmatic and tunicle are used.

3) The Rite of Lyon: very interestingly, folded chasubles are not used until after the first Sunday of Lent, a relic of the time prior to St Gregory the Great when the first day of the Lenten Fast was the Monday following this Sunday. The deacon takes off his chasuble before chanting the Gospel but does not roll it over his shoulders (so he does the same as the subdeacon at the Epistle). Folded chasubles are not used on Good Friday.

4) The Rite of Paris: Chasubles are not folded but rolled over the shoulders (the ceremonials speak of transversed chasubles: planetis tranversis super humeros). They are not used during Sundays of Advent (which are celebrated in white in Paris); rather the dalmatic and tunicle are used instead. Folded chasubles are nonetheless used during ferial Masses of Advent in bigger churches with many clerics; smaller churches are dispensed. Transversed chasubles are used for the first time on Ash Wednesday, then on Sundays of Lent, and on Good Friday; the vestments are black each time. On ferias of Lent, on the other hand, the deacon and subdeacon serve only in alb, stole, and maniple, without chasubles, even in the cathedral. Ember Days in September are celebrated with red transversed chasubles since these days belong to the Time after Pentecost, which is red in Paris.

5) The Premonstratensians: This rite has the interesting peculiarity that the use of folded chasubles begins on Septuagesima.

6) The Cistercians, Dominicans, and Carmelites: These three rites shares similar uses; during penitential seasons, the deacon and subdeacon serve in alb, stole, and maniple, as in smaller churches in the Roman rite. Note that in the Dominican rite, the dalmatic and tunicle are not used during ferial Masses throughout the year.

7) The Carthusians: This rite is very pared down and does not employ the dalmatic and tunicle at all during the year. During Mass, the deacon only puts on the stole to sing the Gospel. Folded chasubles are therefore not used at all.

AND IN THE EAST?– Based on the evidence from ancient artistic representations, the Byzantine East used the chasuble since at least the 5th century; and it is called φαιλόνιον in Greek (phelonion, similar to the Latin pælonia).

Théophile d'Alexandrie - miniature sur papyrus du Vème siècle.
Theophilus of Alexandria. Miniature on papyrus, 5th century.

By an interesting development similar to the one that happened in the West, the front part of the phelonion is cut in such a way as to facilitate the gestures of the celebrant.

Icône représentant saint Jean de Novgorod - le phélonion est tenu replié sur les bras.
Icon representing St John of Novgorod: the phelonion is held folded over the arms.
Prêtre byzantin portant le phélonion. La partie avant du vêtement est désormais coupée pour faciliter les gestes liturgiques.
A Byzantine priest wearing the phelonion. The front part of the vestment is cut to facilitate liturgical gestures.

Certain Spanish folded chasubles have a shape very similar to that of modern-day Byzantine phelonia cut in the front.

Chasubles pliées d'origine espagnole, assez proche de l'actuelle coupe byzantine.
Spanish-style folded chasubles, very similar to the current Byzantine cut.

We nevertheless do not find any evidence that deacons and subdeacons ever wore chasubles in the East; both used dalmatics [17]. Yet, in the Russian use, during the ordination of a cantor or lector, the bishop puts a short phelonion over his shoulders, which is likely the Eastern equivalent of the Western folded chasuble.

Ordination d'un lecteur dans l'usage russe.
Ordination of a lector in the Russian use.

The short phelonion is then taken off once the lector has chanted an Epistle.

Le lecteur byzantin nouvellement ordonné & revêtu du petit phélonion chante l'épître
A newly-ordained Byzantine lector wearing the short phelonion sings the Epistle.

During the ordination of a non-monastic subdeacon, the candidate presents himself before the bishop wearing a short phelonion. This vestment is not used outside these two ordinations [18], but it might well be the remnant of a more ancient custom where the chasuble was worn by the minor clergy.

Phélonion et petit phélonion russes.
Russian phelonion and short phelonion.

The other Eastern rites do not, in general, use the chasuble, even for the celebrant, who usually dons a cope. The Armenians, however, do have an equivalent of the Russian short phelonion [19], a short cape that covers the shoulders of minor clerics in this rite and which is most often attached to the alb in our days:

Messe dans le rit arménien - cathédrale arménienne catholique Sainte-Croix de Paris.
Mass in the Armenian Rite (Armenian Catholic Cathedral of Sainte-Croix in Paris).
Ordinations de diacres arméniens.
Ordination of Armenian deacons.

CONCLUSION. Mons. Bugnini’s enthusiastic efforts to suppress folded chasubles (he notes with disdain that no one will miss them) [20] gives rise to a larger question that naturally emerges when one studies the liturgical reforms of 1951-1969. These reforms were presented to the faithful at that time as a welcome return to the liturgy of ancient Christianity, finally purified from the dross of the High Middle Ages and the Baroque era. But if that is the case, how are we to explain the contemptuous suppression of this truly ancient element of the Roman Rite, the folded chasuble, a precious custom that unites us to the prayer and practice of our forefathers in the faith going back to the first centuries? Alas, this particular example is far from unique, and it only highlights the abandonment of numerous ancient elements of the liturgy in favor of the purely imaginative constructs that took place during these reforms. More globally, one might ask about the nature of the liturgical reform of 1951-1969: does it constitute a continuous organic development of the liturgy of the Church or a radical rupture with the centuries-long praxis of the Roman Rite?

It is interesting to consider how in different parts of the world, traditional communities are starting to take up the use of folded chasubles. We are certain that these communities perceive that they form a part of the symbolic richness that the tradition has bequeathed to us and of which we have been unjustly deprived.

Chasuble pliée - Rome.
Folded chasuble, Rome.
Mercredi des Cendres.
Ash Wednesday.
Londres.
Good Friday, London.
Stolon noir du Vendredi Saint. Londres.
Black broad stole on Good Friday, London.
Passion selon saint Matthieu - messe pontificale des Rameaux - Rome.
The Passion according to St Matthew. Pontifical Mass on Palm Sunday, Rome.
Second dimanche de Carême 2016 - collégiale Saint-Just de Lyon.
Second Sunday of Lent 2016, collegiate church of Saint-Just in Lyon.
Second dimanche de Carême 2016 - collégiale Saint-Just de Lyon.
Second Sunday of Lent 2016, collegiate church of Saint-Just in Lyon.
A l'aspersion - second dimanche de Carême 2016 - Société Saint-Hugues de Cluny - Connecticut.
The Asperges, Second Sunday of Lent, Society of St Hugh of Cluny, Connecticut.
Notez la chasuble transversale roulée - second dimanche de Carême 2016 - Société Saint-Hugues de Cluny - Connecticut.
Note the transversed chasuble that is actually rolled, Second Sunday of Lent, Society of St Hugh of Cluny, Connecticut.
Distribution des cierges de la Chandeleur 2016 - Institut du Christ-Roi - Gricigliano.
Distribution of candles in Candlemas 2016, Institute of Christ the King, Gricigliano.

Notes

14. G. Braun, Die liturgischen Paramente, 1914, p. 98.
15. Rubrica generales XIX, n. 137: Planetae plicatae et stola latior amplius non adhibentur.
16. Indeed, strictly speaking violet dalmatics and tunicles are only used on the three Sundays of Septuagesima, Sexagesima, and Quinquagesima.
17. Which very often retains structures much more ancient than the Greek usage.
18. The lector-cantor ordinarily uses a type of tunic for his office, the sticharion—στιχάριον. Certain parishes have tried to restore a more frequent use of the short phelonion.
19. According to R. Pilkington, I riti orientali, Turin, L.I.C.E. —Berruti, p. 31.
20. Cf. A. Bugnini—C. Braga, Ordo Hebdomadae Sanctae instauratus commentarium. Bibliotheca Ephemerides Liturgicae Sectio Historica 25, Roma, Edizioni Liturgiche, 1956, p. 56, n. 28.

The History of the Folded Chasuble (Part 1)

We are much obliged to Henri de Villiers and the Schola Sainte Cécile for permission to publish this translation of his article “Les chasubles pliés: Histoire et liturgie,” which we post again this year.

Folded chasubles are the vestments used by the deacon and subdeacon during penitential seasons instead of the dalmatic and tunicle. Their use dates back to the earliest years of the Church, when all the clergy used the chasuble.

HISTORY. The chasuble was originally a civil garment used already by the Etruscans, and became widespread in the Roman Empire beginning in the first century of our era, to the point that it became an elegant article of clothing in common use. It was a round garment with a hole in its centre to pass the head through, and covered the upper body down to the knees. It is known under different names, the principal ones being: pænula, the most common name in ancient Rome; casula, literally “little house” because it was a sort of little tent (this term has resulted in the English “chasuble”); planeta, the term later used by the Roman liturgical books, whereas the rest of Western Europe has always preferred to use casula; and amphibalus, mainly employed by the Fathers of the Church of Gaul.

Etruscan pænula (particularly rolled up over the arms), 4th century B. C.

The chasuble then tended, at the start of our era, to replace the old toga, which was too heavy and less practical, to the point where Roman orators began to insist on using them instead of togas when pleading cases, in order to have more freedom in for oratorical gestures [1]. Under the Emperor Trajan (98-117), the tribunes of the people wore chasubles, and Commodus (180-192) ordered that those assisting public spectacles should do so in a chasuble and no longer in a toga. The chasuble became the senatorial vestment in 382.

Christians naturally used this garment [2] and at the start of the 3rd century Tertullian chastised the faithful who took off their chasubles during liturgical prayers for reasons that he labelled superstitious [3]. As the chasuble became a vestment of honour for high officers of the Empire, Christians sought to give their own tribunes and senators—bishops, priests, and deacons—a similar mark of honour.

In Christian writings, the first mention of the chasuble as a properly liturgical vestment is relatively late: it is found in the second of the two letters written by St Germain of Paris († 576), which contains a famous description of the mass according to the ancient Gallican rite:

Casula quam amphibalum vocant, quod sacerdos induetur, tota unita per Moysem legiferum instituta primitus demonstratur. Jussit ergo Dominus fieri dissimilatum vestimentum, ut talem sacerdos induerit, quale indui populus non auderetur. Ideo sine manicas, quia sacerdos potius benedicit quam ministrat. Ideo unita prinsecus, non scissa, non aperta ; quia multae sunt Scripturae sacrae secreta mysteria, quae quasi sub sigillo sacerdoti doctus debet abscondere, et unitatem fidei custodire, non in haerese vel schismata declinare.

The chasuble, which is known as amphibalus and which the priest wears, shows the original unity of all that was instituted by Moses the Lawgiver. Now, the Lord commanded that diverse vestments be made, so that the people might not dare wear what the priest wears. Hence it has no sleeves, since the priest’s duty is to bless rather than to minister. Hence from the start it has been of one piece, and not split or opened, since many are the hidden mysteries of Holy Scripture, which the learned priest must conceal under a seal, as it were, and preserve the unity of the faith, nor to fall into heresy or schism.

Nevertheless, well before this first mention, numerous frescoes, mosaics, and miniatures from the 4th century onward show beyond doubt the chasuble was largely adopted during this era as a liturgical vestment, in the East as well as the West.

Chasuble-de-saint-Ambroise-à-Milan
St Ambrose of Milan wearing a chasuble. Note the cut that facilitates the movements of the right arm. Mosaic dated 375 from the chapel of San Vittore in Ciel d’Oro in the basilica of St Ambrose.

At this time, the chasuble was the general vestment of all the clergy, not only that of bishops and priests, but also of deacons, subdeacons, and—according to Alcuin (c. 730-804)—in certain circumstances even of acolytes! Amalarius of Metz (775-850) tells us that the chasuble was still worn in his time by all clerics without distinction. He calls it the generale indumentum sacrorum ducum [4]. t was still employed by acolytes in certain regions into the 11th century [5].

For the celebrating bishop or priest, this vestment did not create any discomfort in carrying out the sacred ceremonies, as St Germain of Paris notes: “Hence it has no sleeves, since the duty of the priest is to bless rather than to minister”. But the ministers—deacons and subdeacons—had to adapt the chasuble for their purposes: they rolled back the front part of the vestment, so that the arms of the ministers would be free to handle the sacred vessels. And thus they were dubbed “folded chasubles”, or planetæ plicatæ ante pectus, as the Latin liturgical books say.

In order to better understand the form taken by this folding, below are some photographs taken from the journal L’Art d’Église (n. 4, 1948), which show a very successful attempt to recreate the ancient shape of the folded chasuble by the monks of the St Andrew’s Abbey in Belgium:

The subdeacon’s folded chasuble.

From the singing of the Gospel until the end of the Mass, the deacon, in order to be freer in his movements, rolled up his chasuble and slung it across his shoulders over his stole:

The deacon’s chasuble: rolled and slung over the shoulder or simply folded, depending on the different moments of the Mass.

The celebrant’s chasuble did not need to be folded [6] precisely because the deacon and subdeacon would help him by lifting up its edges at certain times during the incensings and at the elevations. This beautiful gesture was faithfully kept by the Roman liturgy, even when it ceased to be necessary after celebrants’ chasubles began to be clipped and reduced in shape.

In fact, the folded chasubles worn by deacons and subdeacons were a clear symbol of their proper function as sacred ministers, i.e. of their role as servants of the celebrant.

Deacons’ and subdeacons’ folded chasubles were later replaced, beginning in the 5th century, by two new vestments: the dalmatic and the tunicle, vestments endowed with sleeves that it more manageable to carry out their liturgical and ministerial functions.

Still, Rome took a long time to adopt this novelty, and the Ordines Romani that describe the Roman liturgy at the time of St Gregory the Great and a bit thereafter (7th century) still name the chasuble as the vestment worn by the pope, the deacons, and the subdeacons. Moreover, John the Deacon (c. 825-880), the biographer of St Gregory the Great (c. 540-604), in his Vita Gregorii Magni, designates the rest of the clergy that accompanied the Pope on processions with the term planeti (“those wearing planetæ“, i.e. chasubles).

When Rome finally accepted the use of dalmatics and tunicles, she nevertheless kept the use of folded chasubles for the deacon and subdeacon during Lent and penitential seasons, following the generally observed liturgical principle that the seasons considered the most holy are also those that are spared from liturgical innovations.

Furthermore, the dalmatic and tunicle are sumptuous vestments that symbolize joy and innocence. For a long time, their colour had to be white, and ancient dalmatics were also adorned with the two bright purple vertical bands (lati claves) that adorned the senatorial garb of old. During the ordination of a deacon, the bishop imposes the dalmatic upon him with these words: “May the Lord attire thee in the garment of salvation, and the vestment of joy (indumento lætitiæ), and ever surround thee with the dalmatic of justice”. The equivalent prayer for clothing the subdeacon with the tunicle also speaks of a vestimento lætitiæ. The use of the dalmatic and tunicle was consequently entirely inappropriate for penitential seasons, during which the old folded chasuble was hence preserved.

The distribution of candles during the Feast of the Purification.

RULES FOR LITURGICAL USE. Folded chasubles are therefore used in the Roman liturgy during penitential seasons. The exact extent of these seasons is described in chapter XIX, §§ 6 and 7 of the rubrics of the Roman Missal of St Pius V (De qualitate paramentorum) [7]:

“In cathedrals and major churches, chasubles are used folded before the breast on fasting days (except on the vigils of the saints), and on the Sundays and ferias of Advent and Lent, and on the Vigil of Pentecost before Mass (except on

  • Gaudete Sunday, and when its Mass is repeated during the week,
  • on Lætare Sunday,
  • on the Vigil of Christmas,
  • on Holy Saturday during the blessing of the candle and during Mass, and
  • on the Ember Days of Pentecost)

also during the blessing of candles and procession on the day of the Purification of Our Lady, and during the blessing of ashes and the blessing of palms and the procession.

“In smaller churches, however, on the aforesaid fasting days (the deacon and subdeacon) minister only with the alb; the subdeacon with the maniple, and the deacon also with the stole hanging from his left shoulder under his right.”

Ordinations on Ember Saturday: the deacon and subdeacon, ministers of the bishop, wear folded chasubles.

We shall here explain certain aspects of this rubric in greater detail. Despite its apparent complexity, it follows some simple and logical principles:

1. Folded chasubles were only used on penitential seasons, and hence only in violet or black. They were not used (even if the above rubric does not make it explicit) for the Mass on Maundy Thursday, celebrated in white, but were for the Mass of the Presanctified on Good Friday, celebrated in black. Before the reforms of the 1950s, the Vigil of Pentecost was like a second Paschal Vigil, and comprised six prophecies before the beginning of the Mass. This fore-mass was celebrated in violet and hence folded chasubles were used. The subsequent Mass was in red. Likewise, on Holy Saturday, the deacon blessed the Paschal candle in a white dalmatic, then put on the folded chasuble again for the Fore-Mass in violet (which comprised twelve prophecies and the blessing of the font). The Mass following this Fore-Mass was in white vestments.

2. Sundays of Advent and Lent are not fasting days (one never fasts on Sundays, which always celebrates Christ’s resurrection) but are still included as part of penitential seasons because they are celebrated in violet. Nonetheless, the rubric of the Roman Missal does not mention Sundays of Septuagesima, which are also celebrated in violet. With some exceptions, medieval commentators did not recommend the use of violet chasubles during the season of Fore-Lent. (To follow the rubric rigorously, one should not use them on Sundays during Septuagesima, but one could consider using them on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays on the three weeks of this season, since they were formerly fasting days).

3. The two Sundays of Gaudete and Lætare are breaks in the middle of Advent and of Lent, days of joy when the Church gives the faithful a foretaste of the rejoicing that awaits them at the end of these two penitential seasons: the vestments are rose-coloured instead of violet, altars are adorned with flowers, and the organ and other musical instruments are played. The Mass of Gaudete Sunday can be celebrated again during the week that follows, and is endowed with the same privileges (the Mass of Lætare Sunday cannot be repeated during the following week, since each feria of Lent is provided with a proper mass).

4. The Ember Days of Pentecost are the sole Ember Days without fasting, because they are included in the Octave of Pentecost. Hence, unlike the Ember Days of September, Advent, and Lent, folded chasubles are not used during these masses.

5. By “major churches”, the rubric means cathedrals, collegiate churches, and also parish churches. This was confirmed by a decision of the Sacred Congregation of Rites dated 11 September 1847 addressed to Nicholas Wiseman, bishop of London, who was then reestablishing the Catholic hierarchy in England and whose entirely new parishes were still often bereft of vestments. The same decision counseled him to celebrate Mass in his cathedral without sacred ministers rather than have deacons and subdeacons without folded chasubles. This decision must have seemed a bit inflexible because it was suppressed in later collections of decrees of the S. C. R.: a major church lacking folded chasubles can always have ministers serve without folded chasubles, wearing only with alb, stole, and maniple.

6. Smaller churches seems to have been dispensed from using folded chasubles not so much because they lacked them but because it was more difficult to have three perfectly matching chasubles, two of which were folded.

7. Another response by the Sacred Congregation of Rites (n. 5385, 31 August 1867) specifies that folded chasubles must be used before the exposed Blessed Sacrament during the Forty Hours Prayer taking place in Advent or Lent.

8. The use of folded chasubles was linked to an idea of liturgical time, for they were not used during Requiem masses, which are not tied to any particular season:  black dalmatic and tunicle are used instead.

LITURGICAL USE. For the ministers to assist the celebrant, it suffices that the front of their chasubles be folded; but when the deacon or subdeacon must carry out those tasks proper to them, they entirely remove this vestment or fold it still further.

Thus, the subdeacon takes off his folded chasuble before singing the epistle, and puts it on again immediately thereafter [8].

The proper office of the deacon begins with the singing of the Gospel and continues until the end of communion; during this time, he does not remove his folded chasuble entirely, but wears it folded and strung over his left shoulder, attached under the right arm with thin cords (or even by making a knot), over his stole. After communion, he unrolls the fabric and wears the chasuble folded as before.

Deacon wearing his chasuble rolled up for the singing of the Gospel.

To simplify this procedure, the custom arose of folding another chasuble in advance, which the deacon put over his shoulder at the appropriate time. Later on, this folded chasuble was often replaced by a simple band of the same fabric, commonly dubbed a broad stole [9].

Evolution of the transversed chasuble to the broad stole: on the left, a rolled chasuble on a mediæval stature of Wells Cathedral in England; on the right, the broad stole in its modern shape: a simple band of fabric without trims on the edges.

During Pontifical Mass, the assistant deacons put on their vestments—viz. a chasuble folded in front, over a cotta or rochet—towards the end of Terce, before the bishop sings the collect [10].

The cross-bearer subdeacon also wears a folded chasuble [11].

Chasuble pliée & stolon de la basilique Sainte-Marie-des-Anges à Rome.
Folded chasuble and broad stole from the basilica of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Rome.

EVOLUTION OF THE SHAPE. From the folded chasuble to the cut chasuble.

The use of actually folding the front part of the chasuble and keeping it folded with cords or hooks has persisted to our days.

In the 17th century, Pisacara Castaldo notes that folded chasubles must not be different from that of the celebrant [12]. In the 18th century, Merato, commenting on Gavantus, further specified that the hooks that keep them folded must be removed between ceremonies lest the chasubles be damaged, and in order that priests might comfortably use them in low masses [13].

A folded chasuble is therefore exactly what its name suggests: a chasuble like any other, worn with the front part folded from within up to the level of the elbows, and often held in place by two steel clips.

New Jersey - USA - FSSP.
Mater Ecclesiæ Church, New Jersey, USA

Nevertheless, over the centuries, as chasubles for celebrants became clipped on the edges for convenience’s sake, the folds of chasubles for deacons and subdeacons became definitively stitched up, and finally the excess fabric was entirely cut off (one might therefore speak of “cut chasubles”, but common use has kept the term “folded chasubles.)

Formes classiques romaines : stolon du diacre, chasuble du célébrant et chasuble pliée du sous-diacre - Londres
Classical Roman shapes: deacon’s broad stole, celebrant’s chasuble, and subdeacon’s folded chasuble. Juventutem London.

Notes

  1. Cf. De Oratoribus chap. XXXIX, attributed to Tacitus (58 – c. 120)
  2. There are many chasubles that are said to have belonged to St Paul.
  3. Tertullian, De Oratione, chap. XV.
  4. Amalarius of Metz, De ecclesiasticis officiis, II, 19 (PL 105, 1095).
  5. A. King, Liturgy of the Roman Church, London-New York-Toronto, Longmans, 1957, p. 130.
  6. Even if some celebrants’ chasubles sometimes have folds or cords; this was the use in the cathedral of Rheims.
  7. De qualitate paramentorum tit. XIX, n. 6, 7. “In diebus vero ieiuniorum (præterquam in vigiliis Sanctorum) et in Dominicis et feriis Adventus et Quadragesimæ ac in vigilia Pentecostes ante Missam (exceptis Domi‐ nica Gaudete, si eius Missa infra hebdomadam repetatur, et Dominica Lætare, Vigilia Nativitatis Domini, Sabbato Sancto in benedictione Cerei et in Missa, ac quatuor temporibus Pentecostes) item in benedictione Candelarum et Processione in die Purificationis Beatæ Mariæ, et in benedictione Cinerum ac benedictione Palmarum et Processione, in Cathedralibus et præcipuis Ecclesiis utuntur Planetis plicatis ante pectus ; quam planetam Diaconus dimittit, etc. In minoribus autem Ecclesiis, prædictis diebus ieiuniorum Alba tantum induti ministrant : Subdiaconus cum manipulo, Diaconus etiam cum stola ab humero sinistro pendente sub dextrum.”
  8. “If the ministers are wearing the folded chasuble, the first acolyte rises during the last collect before the Epistle and takes the folded chasuble from the sub-deacon, then the latter takes the book, chants the Epistle, and kisses the hand of the celebrant. After returning the book, he revests again in the folded chasuble—either by the altar or at the credence—and transfers the Missal from the Gospel side with its cushion or book-stand.” Pio Martinucci, Manuale sacrarum Caerimoniarum, chap. VI, n. 14.
  9. “After the celebrant has begin reading the Gospel [in a low voice], the deacon descends from the altar by the side, as has been said. At the credence he deposits the folded chasuble and puts on the broad stole; then he takes the Gospel book, carries it to the altar, and completes the rest of his functions.” Pio Martinucci, Manuale sacrarum Caerimoniarum, chap. VI, n. 15.
  10. Caerimoniale Episcoporum, Book II, chap. XIII, n. 3.
  11. Pierre Jean Baptiste de Herdt, Pratique de la liturgie selon le rite romain, p. 213.
  12. A. Pisacara Castaldo, Praxis caeremoniarum, Neapoli, Scoriggium, 1645, p. 178.
  13. B. Gavantus—G.M. Merato, Thesaurus Sacrorum Rituum, Venetiis, Balleoniana, 1792, I, p. 48.

Archdale King on Liturgical Fans

From Liturgies of the Religious Orders by Archdale King, 1955, pp. 290, 321-322, 374.

A liturgical fan (flabellum) of leather, silk, parchment or feathers was used in the sacrifices of the heathen and from very early times in the Christian Church. The Apostolic Constitutions (late 4th century) say: “Let two of the deacons, on each side of the altar, hold a fan, made up of thin membranes, or of the feathers of the peacock, or of fine cloth, and let them silently drive away the small animals that fly about, that they may not come near to the cups”[1]. John Moschus relates the story of an Italian bishop, offering the Holy Sacrifice in the presence of Pope St. Agapitus I (535-536), who requested the Pope to tell the deacon with the flabellum to go away from the altar at the prayer of the holy oblation[2]. Hildebert de Lavardin, bishop of Tours (1135-1134), sending a flabellum to a friend, says:

And so, when you drive away flies descending upon the Sacrifice with the fan I sent to you, you ought to ensure the onslaught of temptations is driven away from the mind of the celebrant with the winnowing-fork of the Catholic faith. This is so that what is taken up for use may proffer you mystical understanding[3].

The fan[4] was in use in Ireland in the early Middle Ages, and it is mentioned in various texts of the period, while the ornament itself is represented in ancient Irish illuminations. A Hiberno-Saxon manuscript of the gospels (8th century) at Trier depicts a fan in the right hand of St Matthew, and the monogram of the Book of Kells (8th century) shows angels bearing a fan which seems to be made of thin plates of metal surrounded by little bells.

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St Matthew holding a fan, as depicted in the Trier Gospels.

The liturgical fan was commonly used in Rome and the West generally from the secret till the end of the canon during the Middle Ages. Its use has been described in the Cluniac customary: One of the servers (they must always be two), standing with a fan near the priest, does not neglect to keep flies away from the Sacrifice, the altar, and the priest himself from the moment the infestation begins until it ends[5]. 

Ordo Romanus XIV (14th century) prescribes the fan, si tempus requirit, and a pontifical ceremonial of the time of Pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) gives the rubric: “Let them also carry fans during summertime in order to drive flies away from the service[6].” The sacristan is reminded in the ordinarius of Liège (c. 1285) to provide a flabellum “in the season of flies” for the private Masses of the brethren, as well as for the conventual Masses. Its use is attested also by Durandus of Mende (ob. 1296).

The subdeacon holds the paten and the deacon the fan as St Regulus celebrates Mass, in the Vita S. Dionysii (B. N. Fr. lat. 5286, fol. 103).

The use of a fan as a liturgical ornament seems to have disappeared from the Western Church, except in the Carmelite and Dominican Orders, after the council of Constance (1415), continuing merely as part of the honorific insignia of the Pope on solemn occasions. It exists today in the Eastern Church in the Syrian (Marwaḥ’tḥo), Byzantine (ripidion), and Armenian (keshotz) rites. A ripidion is given to the Byzantine deacon at his ordination.

In the case of the Carmelite rite, the ordinal of Sibert of Beka (1312) gives the following rubric: During fly-season after the beginning of the secrets the deacon must hold a fan with which becomingly to prevent them from bothering the priest, and drive them away from the Sacrifice[7]. It was repeated in the ordinal of 1544, but the ceremonial of 1616 permitted its use to be optional. The variations of usage were described in an appendix to the ceremonial of 1906, without, however, committing itself as to whether the fan should still be used:

During fly-season, the deacon (and even the server in a private Mass) must, according to the Ordinal of the Divine Office of 1544, and may, according to the Ceremonial of 1616, hold a fan in his hand after the beginning of the secrets, and with it becomingly prevent them from bothering the celebrant and drive them away from the Sacrifice, as is still the custom in some places. For the server at private Mass, it is added: and to make the priest a bit more comfortable … especially in hot climates[8].

Fr Zimmerman says that its use has never been entirely abandoned, but he fails to say in what provinces it may be found. A Carmelite of the Irish province told the writer (1949) that the flabellum has figured in some churches in recent years for the rite of 1504, but as a ceremonial adjunct rather than as a fan for the oblata. It was formerly used by the deacon (server at a private Mass) from the beginning of the secrets until the end of the canon.

44

The oldest known Dominican missal, from Paris (c. 1240), there is an illustration in which the priest is depicted at the altar, assisted by a deacon waving a flabellum. The actual ceremonial of the Order (1869), gives a rubric similar to that in the Carmelite ordinal of Sibert: During the season of flies the deacon uses a fan to drive flies away, lest they bother the priest[9]. A note says that the fan is still in use in a few houses.

See more about the fan in The Liturgical Arts Journal and the ‘blog of the Schola Sainte Cécile, and consider donating one to your local cathedral.

NOTES.

[1] Apost. Const., VIII, cap. XXII.

[2] Prati Spiritualis, cap. CL

[3] Dum igitur destinato tibi flabello descendentes super sacrificia muscas abegeris; a sacrificantis mente supervenientem incursus tentationum Catholicae fidei ventilabro exturbari oportebis. Ita fiet ut quod susceptum est ad usum, mysticum tibi praebeat intellectum. Epist. VIII.

[4] Irish culebad; Old Irish culebath.

[5] Unus ministrorum, qui semper duo debent esse, stans cum flabello prope sacerdotem, ex quo muscarum infestatio exurgere incipit, donec finiatur, eas arcere a sacrificio et ab altari, seu ab ipso sacerdote non negligit.

[6] Deferant quoque aestivo tempore flabella ad eijiciendas muscas a ministerio.

[7] Tempore etiam muscarum post inceptionem secretarum debet diaconus tenere flabellum quo cohibeat eas honeste a molestando sacerdotem, et abigat a sacrificio.

[8] Juxta Ordinale divini officii anni 1544 debet et juxta Caeremoniale 1616 poterit diaconus (et etiam minister in missa privata) tempore muscarum post Secretorum incoeptionem Flabellum in manu tenere, quo eas honeste a molestando celebrante cohibeat et a Sacrificio abigat, prout adhuc alicubi usus est. Pro ministro in Missa privata additur: atque ad Sacerdotem aliquantulum consolandum … praecipue in locis calidis.

[9] Tempore vero muscarum Diaconus utatur flabello ad abigendas muscas, ne molestent sacerdotem.

Emicat meridies: A Sequence for St Scholastica

The proper Mass for St Scholastica Surge propera that appears in the Benedictine supplement to the Roman missal is of relatively late introduction, first appearing in the latter part of the 17th century. It is, however, graced with an elegant sequence in honour of the monastic patriarch’s peristeramorphic sister displaying all the unction one might expect from a truly mediæval production. 

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The melody of the Sequence in Nivers’ Gradual.

In the Solesmes editions of the Gradual, the sequence is set to a first-mode melody redolent of the High Middle Ages. It replaced the melody one finds in the Gradual prepared in 1696 by Guillaume-Gabriel Nivers for the use of Benedictine nuns: a saccharine ditty typical of the infelicitous taste en vogue during that putatively enlightened age. 

emicat

Emicat meridies,
et beata requies
virgini Scholasticae.
Midday shines forth,
and blessed rest
upon the maiden Scholastica.
Intrat in cubicula:
Sponsi petit oscula,
quem amavit unice.
She entereth the Bridegroom’s chambers,
she seeketh his kisses,
whom alone she lovedst.
Quantis cum gemitibus,
cordis et ardoribus
haec Dilectum quaesiit!
With what groans,
and ardour of heart
she sought her Belovèd!
Movit caelos lacrimis,
imbribusque plurimis
pectus fratris mollit.
She movedst heaven with her tears,
and with heavy rains
softenedst her brother’s heart.
O grata colloquia,
cum caelorum gaudia
Benedictus explicat!
O happy conversation,
when the joys of heaven
Benedict explaineth!
Ardent desideria,
mentis et suspiria,
virgo, Sponsus excitat.
Desires burn,
and sighs of the heart,
O maiden, doth the Bridegroom arouse!
Veni formosissima,
sponsa dilectissima,
veni, coronaberis.
Come, most comely,
most belovèd bride,
come, thou shalt be crowned.
Dormies in liliis,
afflues deliciis,
et inebriaberis.
Thou shalt sleep among lilies,
thou shalt abound in delights,
and be inebriated.
O columba virginum,
quae de ripis fluminum
adis aulam gloriae.
O dove of maidens,
who from the stream banks
goest forth to the hall of glory.
Trahe nos odoribus,
pasce et uberibus
immortalis gratiae. Amen.
Draw us by thy scent,
and feed us with the paps
of grace everlasting. Amen.

incidents_in_the_life_of_saint_benedict2c_14092c_london_ng

A Vestige of Ancien Régime Versailles in the Holy Land (3)

Part 1: The French King as Bishop in the Use of the Royal Chapel at Versailles, 1
Part 2: The French King as Bishop in the Use of the Royal Chapel at Versailles, 2

Part III:
Modern Survivals of Royal Honors in the Liturgy of the Holy Sepulcher

Much of the glorious liturgical patrimony of the Gallican church—the stational processions, public penance, local chant traditions, the rich urban liturgy sustained by great beneficed clergy of the cathedral chapters—perished alongside the King in the revolutionary despoliations.

There is one place, however, where a curious relic of the honors once given to the bishop-king of France lives on: in Jerusalem. Many ancient practices have weathered the centuries under the hallowed dome of the Sepulcher, whose liturgical customs were essentially “frozen” in the 19th century by a series of consensus agreements between the six Churches, managed and enforced by the Ottoman authorities, and collectively called the Status Quo.

Designed to eliminate all future cause for disruption or dispute between the various Churches over possession of parts of the ancient basilica, it essentially means that, whatever the Greeks, Latins, Armenians, Syriac, Copts or Ethiopians were doing then—whatever shrines they possessed, feast days they celebrated, candles they lit—they must keep doing so in perpetuity, on penalty of breaking the agreement. Consequently, medieval practices like the Funerals of Christ and the morning-time Easter Vigil, vanished everywhere else in the Latin West, survive here by the iron force of custom, and valiant pilgrims may still attend midnight Matins with the Franciscans on feast days.

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One such custom harks back all the way to the Royal Chapel of Versailles: the traditional honors given to the French Consul, formerly the French king’s official representative in the Protectorate of the Holy Land.

In a remarkable and puzzling anachronism, many of the ceremonial honors once offered to the French king in his palace at Versailles are still given to the Consul General of the French Republic on several occasions throughout the year, as a special recognition of France’s role in defending the Christian patrimony of the Holy Land.

Before approaching these fascinating glimpses into the past, a brief review of France’s role in the Holy Land is in order.

The Ottoman Period

French interest in the Holy Land goes back, of course, to the Crusades and before, but the stable presence and advocacy of the French in the Levant began in the 16th century. The Capitulations between King Francis I and the Sublime Porte gave France special guardianship of all Christians (Latin and Greek) in the Holy Land and the entire Ottoman empire. Essentially, it put Christians under French legal patronage, so that Christian grievances could be aired by the French ambassador directly at the Ottoman court, and the ambassador in turn could negotiate ever more rights for missionaries and other French citizens. This was a distinguished role that, despite the waxing and waning of her influence, France never quite relinquished.

16th century copy of the 1569 Capitulations between Charles IX and Selim II.

Subsequent Capitulations augmented French claims and led to the establishment of a French Protectorate over the Holy Land, with Louis XIV declaring himself the protector of Christians of all rites in the Ottoman Empire. French consuls resided first at Sidon and Alexandria, visiting Jerusalem in their circuits. Finally, in the nineteenth century, the French government established a French Consulate General in Jerusalem itself to manage the affairs of its citizens and to perform France’s traditional advocacy on behalf of Christians there.

The Franciscan custodians of the Holy Sepulcher began to offer liturgical honors to the consuls early on in their private chapels, as a token of gratitude and deference for their special role.[1] Some 19th century authors claim that these honors are directly based on the use of the Chapel, while others such as Santi are reticent about the obvious similarities.[2] When private chapels gave way to public churches at some point in this period of the consolidation of the Protectorate, the Franciscans continued to treat consuls with the same liturgical honors in all their Churches in the Levant, including the Holy Sepulcher.

For the French, this was an important sign of preeminence in the intense competition with other 19th century colonial powers. As Catherine Nicault argued, they were “carefully codified liturgical honors which made them the most eminent foreign dignitaries in Jerusalem.”[3]

In 1742, the Sacred Congregation intervened to codify the rite, acknowledging the honors but forbidding the kissing of the Gospel book:

  1. The Te Deum will be sung at the Consul’s entry into his duties
  2. A special place will be reserved for the Consul in the Church
  3. The Prefect will send a servant to inform the Consul at the time for Mass
  4. The Consul must not take the aspergillum from the priest’s hands, but the priest will approach with it and the Consul will take it with his finger at the end of the sponge. The priest will keep hold of the aspergillum.
  5. After genuflecting before the altar, the celebrant will bow toward the Consul before and after Mass
  6. The Consul will not be allowed to kiss the Gospel book
  7. The Consul will be incensed separately and the pax-brede will be given him to kiss
  8. The Consul will follow the procession holding a candle given him by one of the clergy
  9. On various special occasions, the prayer for the most Christian King will be said.

A Royal ordinance of 3 March 1781 countered, reaffirming the Consul’s exclusive right to a place of honor, to kiss the book, to receive the aspergillum from the priest’s own hand. Further, it made attendance at all Consular Masses obligatory for the Consul, Vice-Consul and his staff, on pain of a 30 livre fine (to be used for the redemption of slaves).

The Modern Period

After France’s aggressive secularization law of 1904, the French consul refused to continue to participate in these traditional ceremonies. The fate of royal honors seemed sealed when the fall of the Ottoman Empire, bringing with it the abolition of the Capitulations, abrogated France’s special privileges in the Levant.

The story of France’s tenacious attempts to retain the honors, to the irritation of the other Mandate powers, is told in fascinating detail by Catherine Nicault.

After fierce negotiations, the Holy See reached an accord with France on 4 December 1926 to reinstate the honors “in recognition of centuries of services rendered to Catholic individuals and communities of all nationalities in the Levant by the diplomats and consuls of France.”

The Accord permits the Consul all the usual honors and the right to sing Domine salvum fac Rem publicam, save for omitting the right to kiss the gospel book (already suppressed by the Congregation), the bows before and after Mass, and the right to sit in choir.[4] It does leave untouched, however, any local customs to the contrary.

 

 

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This modification of the traditional verse Domine salvum fac regem nostrum, sung during the ancien régime, was first assigned to be sung after Mass by the Concordat of 1801.

Several decades later, the Franciscans decided to extend the honors to other officials representing Catholic countries traditionally offered protection to the Holy Land. These are, currently, Italy, Belgium, and Spain. Consequently, the French Consul is no longer the only state official to receive these special honors, and they have been diverged away from their origin in the use of the Royal Chapel.

The honors are given not only in the Sepulcher but in several Franciscan churches in the Holy Land, such as Beirut. I should also point out that the Eastern Rite and Orthodox Churches have their own tradition of consular liturgies and other honors, which are not discussed in this article, but may be studied in Santi’s Les Messes Consulaires.

The Honors

The honors in their present form consist principally in the rite of Solemn Entry and the ceremonial of consular Masses.

1) Solemn Entry

The first honor is the privilege of a solemn entry into the Holy Sepulcher, recalling the King’s reception by the Vincentian fathers of the Royal Chapel. According to Franciscan custom, it is otherwise reserved to cardinals.

Today, Consuls receive this solemn reception within thirty days of assuming their post. On 6th November 2019, the new Consul General of France, René Trocaz, made his solemn entry into the Holy Sepulcher. The consul walked in procession with a Franciscan cortege from Jaffa Gate to the Holy Sepulcher, and then to the French church of St. Anne, where a Te Deum was sung.

Royal Honors 6Royal Honors 7Royal Honors 8Royal Honors 9

Official entry of new consul Pierre Cochard in 2016. The official booklet with rubrics and prayers for the event can be downloaded here.

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2) Consular Masses

Besides the solemn entry, the Consul is present as a matter of protocol at two types of liturgies during his tenure: Consular Masses and Masses in the Presence of the Consul.

The protocol for these Masses is given on the website of the General Consulate:

1) A place of honor with prie-Dieu and carpet is reserved for the Consul General.
2) The Consul General is received at the door of the church by the clergy, who offer him holy water and conduct him to his place.
3) When he arrives at the altar, after his genuflexion the celebrant turns and bows to the Consul General.
4) After the Gospel is read by the deacon, he carries it to the Consul General (after the celebrant) to be kissed.
5) At the Offertory, the deacon incenses the Consul General immediately after the celebrant.
6) At the end of the Mass, after the Postcommunion the Domine salvam fac Rem publicam is sung twice (see above).
7) The celebrant bows to the Consul General before leaving the altar.
8) The clergy leads the Consul General to the door of the church.
9) In solemn processions when the Consul General is present, a place of honor is reserved for him immediately after the clergy. Upon entering or exiting the church, he is received and accompanied as described above.
10) When the Blessed Sacrament is exposed, the honors provided in 3, 5, and 8 are not given.
11) At Masses for the Dead, the honors provided in 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 are not given.

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A Consular Mass with Consul Pierre Cochard

 

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Consular Mass, 2016

Some consular Masses are fixed, others vary each year. The Consulate website lists the schedule for 2017:

Consular Masses in 2017

4th February 2017 – Saint Maron. Maronite church.
April 2017 – Syrian Catholic Exarchate. Syriac Catholic church.
25th May 2017 – Ascension – Greek Catholic Exarchate. [Domaine de l’Eleona]
14th July 2017 – French national holiday. Basilica of St. Anne.
August 2017 – Armenian Catholic Exarchate. Armenian Catholic church.
11th August 2017 – Saint Clare. Convent of Poor Clares.

Masses in the presence of the Consul

6 January 2017 – Epiphany. Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem
3rd March 2017 – Crowning with Thorns. Ecce Homo.
16th April 2017 – Easter. Basilica of the Holy Sepulcher.
14th July 2016 (St. Anne’s)
14th July 2018 (St. Anne’s)

Conclusion: A curious anachronism?

Of course the question that begs to be asked is why the French state, rigorously secular, allows its representatives to take part in these ceremonies and receive these honors, and, in turn, why the Franciscans continue to render this homage to them. The Consulate’s website explains these honors in sympathetic detail, if in a way that distances the Consul from their religious implications:

As part of his required duties, the Consul General continues to assume the role of protector of several religious communities in accordance with treaties that were signed with the Ottomans and that have remained in force throughout the changes in states…In exchange, in the name of the Republic the Consul receives certain liturgical honors, such as the ceremony of his entry into the Holy Sepulcher, which recalls French protection over the holy sites, consular Masses, his presence in uniform at Christmas and Easter celebrations alongside other consuls from Catholic countries. If this religious role assumed by the Consul General has become less central, nevertheless it has its purpose: not only as a matter of tradition but also for the purpose of maintaining stable relations with the Christian community, whose future is always delicate and uncertain.[6]

The survival of this practice invites several interesting questions.

First of all, it is an open question, from a sacramental point of view, how honors exclusively reserved for the king in virtue of his quasi-sacramental ordination as Davidic King of France could be transferred to a diplomatic representative (of any stature) who has had no such anointing. Are there any other cases when royal honors are offered to an ambassador acting, so to speak, in persona regis? Honors given to the King and others in their capacity as members of the Order of the Holy Spirit do not seem like a relevant parallel, since they did not include such honors.

But in pure speculation let us assume that such a transfer were theoretically possible; namely, that royal honors could be given to the king’s agent in view of the quasi-episcopal ordination the king receives in his unction, in which the representative in some way participates. The fact is that today the Consuls, who might not even be baptized, no longer represent an ordained monarch but France’s secular head of an avowedly secular state born in bloody hatred of the Church.

In the final analysis, have the royal honors have become mere political protocol and historical curiosity, having lost their historical connection with France and the Royal Chapel, or even with the Catholic faith of France’s representatives?

Whatever the case may be, these ancient honors are a touching pre-revolutionary atavism, a reminder of the gesta Dei per Francos, when the Eldest Daughter of the Church bestirred herself in defense of the mother of all Churches, defending her siblings and vindicating the sovereign rights of God in heathen lands. The honors are no longer the outcome and the symbol of the protectorate, but first of all the memory of a past which no one can abolish.

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Bibliothèque de l’Arsenal, Ms-5089 réserve, fol. 168v.

NOTES:

[1] The ceremonies must have grown out of an understanding between the Franciscans and the French government over proper liturgical protocol for French representatives. The Archives of the Custody contain consular correspondence that indicates their attendance at Franciscan liturgies in Alexandria and Sidon, and their use of a special chair, e.g., in the Holy Sepulcher.

[2] P. Santi, Les messes consulaires des rites orientaux, Beirut, 1968

[3] Nicault, Catherine (1999). “The End of the French Religious Protectorate in Jerusalem (1918-1924)”. Bulletin du Centre Français de Jérusalem.

[4] The items of the Accord are as follows:

  1. a) The Representative of France will be invited to the solemn Mass
  2. b) a place of honor will be reserved for him outside and facing the choir. Nevertheless in churches where the French consuls’ chair is a fixed and immovable piece of the structure at the time of the signing of this Accord, the Representative of France will retain use of it, even if this chair is located inside the choir.
  3. b) the clergy will receive the Representative of France at the door of the Church, will offer him holy water and lead him to his place
  4. d) during the ceremony, the clergy will incense him before the others in attendance
  5. e) at the end of Mass the clergy will accompany him to the exit

[5] “Dans le cadre de sa circonscription, le Consul général continue à assumer un rôle de protection des communautés religieuses dans la ligne des accords signés avec les Ottomans, toujours en vigueur par le jeu de la succession d’États. À cette proposition diplomatique s’ajoutent des subventions, la mise à disposition de coopérants et, dans le cas des domaines nationaux, la prise en charge de l’entretien et du gardiennage. En échange, le Consul jouit, au nom de la République, des honneurs liturgiques, comme en témoignent la cérémonie de son entrée au Saint-Sépulcre qui rappelle la protection française sur les Lieux saints, les messes consulaires, ou encore sa présence en uniforme aux célébrations de Noël et de Pâques, aux côtés des autres consuls des pays catholiques. Si ce rôle religieux assumé par le Consul général devient moins central, il demeure utile non seulement eu égard à la tradition mais aussi au maintien d’équilibres communautaires délicats et à l’avenir toujours incertain des Chrétiens dans la région.” (Source: https://jerusalem.consulfrance.org/Histoire)