This series of images shows the progression
of Lent, Passiontide and Holy Week, leading to Easter
Morning, with brief explanations of why things are
done as they are, together with a biblical or liturgical
text for meditation of these Mysteries.
This page is incomplete until
Easter Day, for photos have yet to be taken and
texts added to this pages as Holy Week progresses.
Come back to this page each day to see new photos
Our use of English Lenten Array has
certain parallels with the veiling of the statues
and crucifixes in Passiontide as done in the Roman
Rite - and in most Anglican churches of Catholic
tradition. In our old English tradition as before
the Reformation and restored to a large extent by
Fr. Percy Dearmer at the beginning of the 20th century,
the statues and altar crosses have been veiled since
Ash Wednesday. The Roman Rite (extraordinary form)
veils the statues in violet and only from Passion
Sunday. Our chapel was like this in English Lenten
Array thoughout Lent until now :
"In [the Sarum] tradition "according to the rules
that in all the churches of England be observed,
all images [are] to be hid from Ash Wednesday
to Easter Day in the morning." This is called
the Lenten Array and it includes a curtain which
hides the reredos, a frontal which covers the
altar, and veils which cover other statues and
pictures in the church. The color was Lenten white
which was natural linen material, sometimes referred
to as ash color. According to An Introduction
to English Liturgical Colours, "The explanation
of this use of white, which is closely akin to
ashen, is 'in this time of Lent, which is a time
of mourning, all things that make to the adornment
of the church are either laid aside or else covered,
to put us in remembrance that we ought now to
lament and mourn for our souls dead in sin, and
continually to watch, fast, pray, give alms....,'
wherefore 'the clothes that are hanged up this
time of Lent in the church have painted on them
nothing else but the pains, torments, passion,
bloodshedding, and death of Christ, that now
we should only have our minds fixed on the passion
of Christ, by whom only we were redeemed." This
practice made a startling transformation of the
church for the whole of the Lenten season so that
Easter literally burst forth like the Lord from
the tomb when the church was returned to normal
state". Both the Roman tradition and
the Sarum tradition, though different in color
and different in length, were about the same thing.
They were about helping us to focus single-mindedly
on the Passion of Our Lord.
The altar of our chapel is prepared
for Passion Sunday :
Normally, the altar cross should have
been veiled in this fashion - in white with a black
cross - throughout Lent. The black cross over the
veil shows the sign of our Redemption whilst hiding
the Person of Christ, even more so when the corpus
is depicted as a Christ in Glory - the western equivalent
of the Pantokrator Icon. Of course, a plain
cross can be substituted for a crucifix, and then
veiling the cross is not necessary as there is no
icon or image.
Veiling also has an allegorical meaning,
that of symbolising Christ's Divinity being hidden
at the time of his Passion and death. It is during
the Paschal Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday that Lent
ends and Easter begins: the statues are unveiled at
that time in one of the most glorious liturgical moments
of the entire Church year, a moment that affirms his
divinity and proclaims that He is risen!. We
read in Dom Gueranger's, The Liturgical Year
The presentiment of that awful hour leads the afflicted
mother to veil the image of her Jesus: the gross is hidden
from the eyes of the faithful. The statues of the saints,
too, are covered; for it is but just that, if the glory
of the Master be eclipsed, the servant should not appear.
The interpreters of the liturgy tell us that this ceremony
of veiling the crucifix during Passiontide, expresses
the humiliation to which our Savior subjected himself,
of hiding himself when the Jews threatened to stone him,
as is related in the Gospel of Passion Sunday. The Church
begins this solemn rite with the Vespers of the Saturday
before Passion Sunday. Thus it is that, in those years
when the feast of our Lady's Annunciation falls in Passion-week,
the statue of Mary, the Mother of God, remains veiled,
even on that very day when the Archangel greets her as
being full of grace, and blessed among women.
There is no physical change to the altar except
the presence each side of the veiled cross of two small
pots of box leaves. The blessing prayer in the Sarum Missal
mentions leaves and flowers, possibly very small and discreet
flowers, mixed with the leaves. Elsewhere in the rite, in
the prayers identical to those of the Roman rite, are mentioned
palm and olive leaves, neither of which would have been
available in 15th century England. Box leaves are the usual
usage in northern France, and these give an idea of what
was used once in England before the coming of the familiar
The children of the Hebrews, bearing branches of olive,
went out to meet the Lord, crying out and saying: Hosanna
in the highest.
The children of the Hebrews strewed their raiment
in the way and cried out saying: Hosanna to the son of
David: blessed is he that cometh in the Name of the Lord.
and Tuesday of Holy Week
The liturgical colour is Passion red (as opposed
to scarlet for Martyrs and Sundays). It had been reddish
purple in Septuagesima and off-white during Lent. The Lenten
Array is still in place. Sprigs of box leaves are visible
each side of the veiled cross. The Blessed Sacrament will
be coming down on Spy Wednesday. A corner of the Tenebrae
Hearse is visible to the right, ready for Spy Wednesday
For practical reasons, the Blessed Sacrament
will be removed from the hanging pyx at the time of Communion
at the Mass of this day. It is accessible by getting up
onto a stool and either opening the pyx door or unhooking
the whole pyx from the chain. In this way, the Blessed Sacrament
consecrated at the Maundy Thursday Mass will be taken to
Why Spy Wednesday ? This expression
brings us face to face with the terrifying mystery of Judas
Iscariot, the villain who betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces
of silver. We are all in some way caught up in intrigue
and suspicion - "Is it I, master?", we
all ask in our awareness of our capacity to do just as much
evil as this dark soul. We read that it would have been
better for this man never to have been born. What a
terrible thing to say, except that Jesus knew that Judas
would damn himself through his treachery, despair and suicide
by hanging himself. The sin of Judas was not mere weakness,
but premeditated and wilful betrayal of love,
trust and every human quality that Jesus set out to teach
us. There is nothing worse than being betrayed by a close
friend or a member of our family. In this way, Judas was
a spy, like those nasty people who had everything - and
betrayed our countries to the Communists in the 20th century,
or those whose treachery caused deaths of resistance fighters
during World War II and priests during Penal times in England.
Treachery is certainly amongst the very worst sins. Persecution
and murder are bad enough. Betrayal is far worse...
The chapel is now ready for the singing of
Tenebrae of Maundy Thursday (Spy Wednesday evening). There
is not so much dazzling light coming in through the window
above the altar as yesterday, for the weather today is dull
The service of Tenebrae is a celebration,
after dark on the evenings of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
of Holy Week, of the next day's Matins (composed of 3 nocturns
each day) and Lauds, the first two hours of the Divine Office.
The readings of each day's first nocturn are taken from
the Book of Lamentations. Each day's office of Tenebrae
contains 9 psalms at Matins, 4 psalms and an Old Testament
canticle at Lauds, 9 readings, and one Gospel canticle,
the Benedictus (Song of Zechariah). 15 candles are
lit and placed on a special stand known as a hearse, which
are extinguished one by one after each psalm. The last candle
is hidden beneath the altar, ending the service in total
darkness. In some places the use of a strepitus (Latin
for "great noise") is included as part of the service. The
strepitus is usually generated by slamming a book
closed, banging a hymnal or breviary against the pew, or
stomping on the floor, symbolising the earthquake that followed
Christ's death. Following the strepitus a single
candle, which had been hidden from view, is returned to
the top of the hearse, signifying the return of Christ to
the world with the Resurrection.
The Lamentations lessons have been set to
music by many composers, of whom the most famous are Palestrina,
Tallis, Lassus, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, François Couperin,
Ernst Krenek (Lamentatio Jeremiae prophetae, op.
93) and Stravinsky (Threni). In addition, the responses
have been set by Lassus, Gesualdo, Victoria and Jan Dismas
Zelenka. The lessons of the second nocturn are taken from
the writings of St. Augustine, and the lessons of the third
nocturn from the epistles of Paul the Apostle. Whether this
service is sung the night before or in the morning due to
the different times for the Maundy Thursday Mass, the Good
Friday service and the Holy Saturday Paschal Vigil, the
service is the same, but may also be called Matins and
Tenebrae takes about one and a half hours
to sing and is not an easy service for unprepared lay people,
even if English is used instead of Latin. However, this
is the full Divine Office of the Church and the laus
perennis, the Opus Dei of which Saint Benedict
speaks in the Rule - to which nothing is to be preferred.
I shall be using the Latin monastic version myself.
The usual timetable for the Triduum services
is as follows:
That was the one redeeming feature of the
Pius XII reform - the timetable. You don't sing O beata
Nox in the full morning sunshine !
For Mass in the Sarum Use, the altar should
be in Passion red from Passion Sunday rather than remaining
in Lenten Array. I have not yet made a dark red frontal,
and so the altar is thus still in Lenten Array. It shall
remain so until after the Mass and the Ablution of the Altars.
The altar prepared for Mass
in caena Domini
The Mass in Caena Domini in the English
tradition is also celebrated in Passion red, not in white.
The Gloria is sung only at a Bishop's Mass. The Blessed
Sacrament is taken to the Sepulcre with much less solemnity
than in the Roman rite. This altar of repose, on Good Friday
used as the Easter Sepulcre for the "burial" of
the third Host and the crucifix, is installed to the left
of the high altar, in the place of Archbishop Hepworth's
throne. On it is a woden urn as is used in the Roman rite
The Easter Sepulcre ready
to receive the Blessed Sacrament (two hosts - one for Good
Friday and the other to put back into the hanging pyx on
Sunday morning before the Mass of the Day
The Canon of the Mass
Vespers and the Postcommunion
Incensing the Blessed Sacrament
in the Sepulcre
The rite for the Ablution
of the Altars in the Use of Sarum is almost identical
to the Dominican rite. After the stripping of the altars
and removal of the Lenten Array - frontal, dossal and riddels,
wine and water are poured in small quantities onto the altar
stone, and then brushed with a small bundle of twigs. The
altar stone is then dried off. Our chapel has two altars
: the high altar and the Lady altar.
of the altar stone.
For I have received of the Lord that
which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus, the
same night in which he was betrayed, took bread, and when
he had given thanks, he brake it, and said: Take, eat: this
is my Body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance
of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when
he had supped, saying: This cup is the new testament in
my Blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance
of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this
cup: ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
The altar as bare as Christ
on the Cross.
The Sarum Mass of the Presanctified is very
similar to the pre-Pius XII Roman rite.
The usual crucifx is replaced with a large
wooden cross, which is veiled in white.
The Cross will be unveiled during the ceremony
I have a black gothic chasuble with red orphreys,
which will be ideal. If I remember rightly, I think I found
it at the tat shop in Fulham some years ago - it's
rather obviously English !
The usual colour in the most typical Sarum
sequence is dark red as for the rest of Passiontide.
In the Bidding Prayers, I will use the prayer
for the Jews as issued by Pope Benedict XVI for the 1962
Roman rite with its milder language (ie: not blaming Jewish
people living in 2009 for the death of Christ) :
Let us pray for the Jews: That our God and Lord may
enlighten their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ
as the Saviour of all men.
Let us pray. Let us kneel. Rise.
Almighty and eternal God, who dost will that all men
be saved and attain the knowledge of the truth, propitiously
grant that as the fullness of the Gentiles enters thy Church,
all Israel may be saved. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.
Draw not nigh hither: put
off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou
standest is holy ground
This section of the Improperia gives much for devout
O my people, what have I done unto thee, and wherein
have I wearied thee? testify against me. Because I brought
thee up out of the land of Egypt, thou hast prepared a
Cross for thy Saviour.
Holy God, Holy and Strong , Holy and Immortal , have
mercy upon us.
Because I led thee through the wilderness forty years,
and fed thee with manna, and brought thee into a land
exceeding good, thou hast prepared a Cross for thy Saviour.
Holy God, Holy and Strong , Holy and Immortal , have
mercy upon us.
What could I have done more unto thee that I have
not done? I indeed planted thee, O my vineyard, with fair
fruit, and thou are become very bitter unto me; for thou
gavest me to drink in my thirst vinegar mingled with gall,
and piercedst thy Saviour's side with a lance.
Holy God, Holy and Strong , Holy and Immortal , have
mercy upon us.
The Cross lies on the altar step to be venerated.
The Rood is unveiled.
The Lady altar cross is unveiled.
The Cross is put back onto the altar for
the Mass of the Presanctified.
The candles are lit for the Mass of the
The Blessed Sacrament (third Host of Maundy
Thursday) lies on the altar after the Mass of the Presanctified.
Vespers has been said, the second Host has been consumed
and the chalice has been removed.
After the Mass of the Presanctified, the chapel
is filled with the smoke of incense and the altar lays utterly
bare like the tortured body of the Crucified. The Church
lays in death awaiting the first spark of the Resurrection.
The veiled Easter Sepulcre for the burial
rite after the Mass of the Presanctified, where the third
Host consecrated on Maundy Thursday has been placed together
with the Cross venerated during today's service. The corpus
on the cross is veiled, as was Christ's body in the tomb.
The Blessed Sacrament will be returned to its place in the
hanging pyx early on Sunday morning.
The old Easter Sepulcre is a feature in many
medieval churches in England, northern France and some other
countries, often a permanent and ornate carved stone structure.
In poorer churches, it was a temporary wooden frame akin
to a funeral hearse.
The Lord being buried, the sepulchre was sealed: rolling
a stone to the door of the sepulchre: setting soldiers to
watch it. Lest peradventure his disciples should come by
night and steal him away, and say unto the people, he is
risen from the dead. Setting soldiers to watch it.
Images will be
added as the events take place.
The chapel is entirely prepared in advance.
Normally the statues would remain veiled until the Gloria
of the Mass and the flowers would be hiding somewhere in
a corner. I do not have the servers to facilitate the logistics
of converting the chapel from mourning to glory in a blink
of an eye as I intone the Gloria. The Paschal Candle
stands ready to receive the five grains of incense and its
flame. The Easter Sepulcre remains as yesterday, and will
remain until early on Easter Sunday morning.
The Use of Sarum prescribed a single taper
on a reed to bring the flame from the New Fire to the Paschal
Candle. We do not use a triple candle as in the pre-Pius
XII Roman rite. The fire is made in a small cast-iron cauldron
on a stand. If the weather is inclement, the fire cauldron
will be protected by the queue-de-gaie (protruding
roof) of the house.
As it happened, the rain started whilst I
was sailing this afternoon, and continued into the evening.
Fortunately, there was little enough wind at sea, even less
inland, so we were lucky for the fire and candle flames.
This queue-de-gaie is an amazing invention for our
damp Norman climate, just like over the Channel in Old
Blighty - you can have a fire outside but yet be under
The Paschal Candle in place.
The Paschal Candle, with the Easter Sepulcre.
The High Altar in festal array.
Golden vestments, and covering them, the
white deacon's vestments for the Exultet.
Another shot of the Sepulcre.
Everything for the New Fire, including ---
a liturgical blow torch (Can anyone give me the term
Same again, with a partial view of my front
The blowlampus liturgicus in action
(getting a charcoal going quickly). It also lit the New
Fire in seconds.
My thurible moves so fast that the photo
is blurred !
The Taper is lit before the procession into
church (sorry about the dustbins and stepladder).
Under the Rood Screen.
Pushing the grains of incense into their
Consecration of the Host.
Elevation of the Host.
Hassocks are not entirely designed for this
purpose. She is our Cairn Terrier, called Seraphine.
Elevation of the Chalice.
The Mass continues.
This is done in the Use of Sarum after the
second ablution instead of wiping out the chalice with a
purificator - - - see the rubrics.
The Paschal Candle with the beautiful flowers
my wife arranged.
- - -
Now let the angelic host of Heaven rejoice,
let the Divine Mysteries be joyfully celebrated, and for the
victory of so great a King let the trumpet of salvation be
sounded. Let the earth, brightened with such effulgence, delight
herself; and being illumined by the splendour of the eternal
King, perceive the darkness of the universe to be done away.
Let our Mother Church also be joyful, adorned with the radiance
of so great light, and let this court resound with the mighty
voices of the peoples. Wherefore as ye stand by, most dearly
beloved brethren, at the so marvellous clearness of this holy
light, I pray you, together with me, invoke the tender mercy
of Almighty God, that he who hath deigned to enrol me not
for my own deserts in the number of Levites, pouring out upon
me the grace of his light, may enable me to declare the praise
of this taper. Through our Lord Jesus Christ His Son, who
with him liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost,
God, world without end. Amen.
Before the Mass of Easter morning, the Blessed Sacrament
and the Cross are removed with solemnity from the Sepulcre.
The Lord's Body is brought to the altar, and then put into
the pyx, which is veiled and suspended on the chain above
the altar. The bells would now be rung at this point.
Christ being raised from the dead, dieth
no more, death hath no more dominion over him ; for in that
he liveth, he liveth unto God. Alleluia! Alleluia! Now let
the Jews declare, how the soldiers who kept the sepulchre
lost the King when the stone was rolled, wherefore kept
they not the rock of righteousness ; let them either produce
the buried, or adore the risen one, saying with us, for
in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Alleluia! Alleluia!
Office and Mass of Easter are then celebrated
The Blessed Sacrament is back in the hanging
Don't look for Him here - He is risen. Alleluia