25 December 2009

Unique?

On Christmass Day here in S Thomas's, there was one Latin Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, and one Syrian Liturgy in the Mallalam language. No a whisker anywhere of the English language, or of Common Worship, or of the Novus Ordo. We were an entirely Enlightenment-free and Protestantism-free zone.

I wager there's no other Anglican church in the whole wide world that can better that.

I wonder about cross-fertilisation. Can anybody make a suggestion about how we could incorporate use of the flabella with which we are now equipped into the Roman Rite?

The author of the best suggestion gets made an Honorary Fellow of this blog. Unfriendly suggestions about where I can stick the flabella will be deleted.

14 comments:

Mark M said...

Ummm... they fell out of use in the Roman rite, Father. Unless you convince the current or future Holy Fathers to bring back triple tiaras, seda gestatoria, etc...

You could always use them in some kind of Corpus Christi procession!? After all, they intended to keep away insects from the Sacred Species and from the Priest...

It would also agree with the Orthodox use, to this day, of them - under the name of hexapterygon...

asides from that...(*scratches head*)

Merry Christmas anyway! I shall keep thinking.

andrew said...

Perhaps the annual Lawn Tennis (aka Doubles) Mass at Wimbledon?

Joshua said...

The Dominicans in Malta were using flabellæ at High Mass right down to the time of the Council...

It's provided for somewhere in the good friars' liturgical books - Fr H, look up Archdale Arthur King's Liturgies of the Religious Orders, no doubt on your bedside table.

And everyone knows that the Dominican Rite was the closest surviving Use to the Sarum. (Although the offertory prayer was identical to that in the otherwise unrevived Rite of Hereford.)

Speaking of flabellæ, is England ever afflicted by flies? (The Clementine liturgy recommends them for this most practical purpose, proving yet again Lebrun's, was it, hypothesis that all symbolic liturgical actions were originally practical.)

You could certainly do with flabellæ in outback Australia. Nasty things can happen if the priest is under the misapprehension that the pall is a Tridentine throwback best left unused.

Fr Ivan D Aquilina SSC said...

@ Joshua:
Actually both the Dominicans of Valletta and Vittoriosa as the Carmelites of Valletta still use the flabellae in their Patronal procession. They are carried just behind the Prior Provincial as he carries the relic. They were never used in the Corpus Procession.
They were still used at the Patronal during Pontifical or Prelatical Mass in the 70's. A server stood at the south side of the altar and another at the north from the Sanctus to the Agnus Dei. The accolyte held the end of the pole in his right hand and rested the pole on his left. I remember them just held but recall older people remembring them being fanned.

Joshua said...

My abject apologies for writing flabellæ [sic] above; I misread flabella as singular, whereas of course it is the plural of flabellum. I only came to Latin very late...

****

I think the NLM featured photographs of such fans being used at Malta, past and present...

As I mentioned earlier, A. A. King gives the following details about the use of the flabellum:

The oldest extant Dominican Missal dates from around 1240, and has an illustration of a deacon waving a flabellum while the priest stands at the altar.

From the Dominican Ceremonial of 1869, where this rubrick appears when the Secret &c. are discussed:

Tempore vero muscarum Diaconus utatur flabello ad abigendas muscas, ne molestent sacerdotem

Compare this to the rubrick of the Apostolical Constitutions (Bk VIII, ch. XII):

"But 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."

Again, according to King, the liturgical fan was used commonly "at the time of flies" throughout the West during mediæval times, from the Secret to the end of the Canon, and even at private Masses, quite sensibly.

The symbolism, of course, is of the beating of the wings of the two Seraphim - "and with twain they flew" - whiles they sang Sanctus before the Divine Majesty.

The chapel of St Faith in the crypt of old St Paul's once had a muscatorium of peacocks' feathers - would such a prop be not out of place at St Thomas'?

Joshua said...

Some more mystical reasons for the liturgical fan:

"it will be necessary for the supervenient assaults of temptations against the Catholic faith to be driven away as with a winnowing-fork from the mind of the sacrificers" (Bp Hildebert of Tours);

the deacons who fan the altar demonstrate thereby the greatness of the Body laid thereon, just as when the great die, their bier is fanned (Theodore of Mopsuestia).

On a practical note, it will also afford some consolation to the priest to be fanned in hot weather.

In Perth, W.A. (where it gets very hot in summer), at the Latin Mass parish, liturgical fans are used, now I recall (how could I forget?), all during the summer heat: being all up-to-date, however, the priest has two portable air-conditioners set up at each side of the altar, to blast him with cool air continually; the units look rather like R2-D2...

It is for the server (or M.C. at a Missa cantata) to ensure the devices are turned on and off, a relic of his ancient duty of fanning the priest, the altar, and the Sacrifice.

Joshua said...

Of course good Bp Hildebert was alluding to the words of St John Baptist (St Matt. iii, 12; St Luke iii, 17) about Our Lord, Who shall with winnowing fan separate the wheat from the chaff.

rev'd up said...

Bring them back easy via the ladies! Turn off the AC, let the ladies heat up a bit - start to 'glisten' - and the flagella (I mean flabella) will spontaneously appear.

I can make no claim to the Mallalam language but all three Masses here were from the Missale Romanum, 1950 Desclee.

Sadie Vacantist said...

I would hang on to them in the event of further AGW. Perhaps you can get a government grant for their maintenance. If so, make sure Mrs Hunwicke or anyone from the parish doesn't leak details of the scam on the internet.

Little Black Sambo said...

"Is England ever afflicted by flies?"
They can be a nuisance round the chalice. Haven't strainers been part of the altar equipment at times, to deal with the flies that got past the first defences?

Michael McDonough said...

"We were an entirely Enlightenment-free and Protestantism-free zone."

What a luxuriant existence!

Mark M said...

England may not have flies, but Scotland has midges. We'll tak 'em of ye!

Michael McDonough said...

Come to think of it, a few flies, (after all they are creatures of God whatever the Manicheans may have said, as Augustine, In Ioannis Ev, 1, 14 tells us, tongue-in-cheek), would be a small price to pay to be able to be left in peace by the Enlightened and Protestants!

And flabella/ripidia make even that price bearable. As to where they should be stored, I leave that to the clergy (or their wives)!

Joshua said...

Now, a thurible-carrier is a thurifer, and a cross-bearer is a crucifer, and a candle-bearer is a cerifer; so is a flabellum-wallah a flabellifer?