Lenten traditions of the Sarum Rite

I thought that this might be an interesting (and more positive) topic for this forum. I always try to keep up with the posts at The New Liturgical Movement blog, which is always a great source of information on traditions and Liturgical Rites, which is where I found this pictures.

They are from a Catholic church in England which primarily uses the Novus Ordo (although quite reverant with many traditional elements) and sometimes the Classical Roman Rite. This church also uses on occaision the Sarum Rite, which was a medieval Liturgical Rite in England that fell out of use during the English Reformation (although variations of this Rite were taken up by the Anglicans, especialy in the Anglo-Catholic/Oxford movment in the 1800s). However, this church uses many elements taken from the Sarum Rite in its architecture and interior design, and also in its normal Liturgical practices.


The exterior of St. Birinus Church

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A statue of St. Birinus over the door.

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A picture of the beautiful High Altar. Notice the Riddel Posts and curtains on either side of the Altar- an ordinary fixture in Sarum Rite churches.


The Rood Screen, which is another element taken from the Sarum Rite, although screens separating the choir in some form or another were common in churches throughout Europe until the Renaissance (recall the transenna in the Sistine Chapel). The Choir Screen is a descendant of the Inconostasis, which still survives in the Eastern Churches.

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The sedia used by the priest. As was common in pre-Vatican II churches, the arms of the current priest are emblazoned on the back of the seat.

In keeping with the Lenten traditions of the Sarum Rite, St. Birinus church viels all crosses Crucifixes, icons and religious images are covered for the entirety of Lent. Instead of the Roman Rite practice of using Purple as the Liturgical colour for Lent, the Sarum tradition is to use unbleached or light-colored cloth , in order to express the solemnity of this time. The viels and the Altar frontal are simply adorned with black and red Lenten symbols.

More pictures can be found here.

That is really nice. I don’t know if there are any churches outside of England that follow the Sarum Rite. Perhaps you or another poster knows.

I would imagine that the Anglican-use parishes in the United States would draw on some elements of the Sarum Rite, however they do not use that Rite for their liturgies. Once in a while indults will be granted for the use of the Sarum Rite, mostly be traditional groups in England.

Very fascinating. I thought the Sarum rite was suppressed at the codification of the Tridentine. Did they get special permission or something?

The Sarum Rite was a Rite practiced only in England, but by the time the Council of Trent codified the Roman Rite, England had become protestant and banned Catholicism. At various points in English history the Church of England adopted variations of the Sarum Rite for their own Liturgies (most notably during the Anglo-Catholic movement). When, in the late 1700s, English Catholics were finally allowed to practice the Faith again, the Roman Rite was used. At various times since then, Bishops have granted indults for the occaisional celebration of Mass in the Sarum Rite, although it never again regained it’s place as the ordinary Rite in England.

However, in the 1800s and 1900s some English Catholic churches adopted art and architecture, as well as a few Liturgical elements, from the Sarum Rite. This is the case for the church I posted about in the topic post.

Any idea what kind of indult the church is operating under for the occasional use of the Sarum rite and the differences in liturgical color? Is it case by case, do as they please?

Oh, case by case. As for the differances in the Liturgical colour, I assume that the Diocese has granted a special indult for that considering the style of the church and it’s Liturgies.

Drat, wouldn’t you know that ym silly ISP has blocked Flickr again.:frowning:

Some Anglican parishes do draw on Sarum colour schemes though not on the highly elaborate ceremonial. Percy Dearmer in The Parson’s Handbook advocated the Prayerbook ceremonial so called, where, arguing that the Prayer Book was the succesor of the Sarum, he advocated the white unbleached linen in oppostion to those who wanted “Romish” colour of purple.

Anyway, I thought I’d add this one from a text of the period Dives and the Pauper:

Dives. Why be images covered in Lent from man’s sight ?

Pauper. In token that while men be in deadly sin, they may not see God’s face, nor saints in heaven. And in token that God and all the court of heaven hide their face from man and woman while they be in deadly sin, till the time that they will amend them by sorrow of heart and shrift and satisfaction.

Dives. Why be they more hid in Lent than in other times ?

Pauper. The time of Lent betokeneth the time of Adam’s sin, for the which we lost the sight of God’s face, and God and the court of heaven hid their
faces from mankind, unto the time of Christ s Passion. And in token thereof on Sunday in Septuagesima, when Holy Church beginneth to make mind of Adam s sin, she leaveth songs of mirth, as Gloria in Excelsis, Te Deum, and Alleluia. For through the sin of Adam, our joy was turned into sorrow and woe.

When, in the late 1700s, English Catholics were finally allowed to practice the Faith again, the Roman Rite was used. At various times since then, Bishops have granted indults for the occaisional celebration of Mass in the Sarum Rite, although it never again regained it’s place as the ordinary Rite in England.

For a long time in England, Sarum practices survived in great measure among the Catholics for example among arriage rituals. The Irish immigration however, caused some of the heirachy to reject the Sarum in favour of the Roman and that made it die out completely.

When I was Epsicopalian, we veiled the altar cross with purple during Lent, then it was changed to black on Good Friday. Is this from the Sarum Rite?

Nope the Roman. Regarding the veiling of the cross on Good Friday, there was difference of opinion among liturgists. Merati holds that it should be black, but Baldeschi (a translation of whose manual was a standard text before Fortescue) says purple.

Wow. Interesting the Sarum Rite is, isn’t it?

(Actually, the Sarum Rite is more properly ‘The Sarum [Salisbury] Use of the Roman Rite’)

Since Palm Sunday is coming up, I did this document from a book on Holy Week giving a synopsis of the Holy Week rites. The document covers a section with the Palm Sunday procession in mediaeval Uses (:tiphat: Patrick) and only 2 or 3 small notes by myself. I found it quite interesting when I first read it: customs like hitting the priest or bishop with a palm branch (I’m quite certain I’ll have plenty of signatures to restore this custom from people on the forum :smiley: ) with “louts” shouting: “Not hard enough. Hit him with the flail.”

Also three more things:
One of the sources used in the document- the Repressor- a mediaevel tract against the Lollards. Only thing is that the English is old fashioned.

An excellent academic paper by Edmund Bishop entitled “Holy Week rites of Rouen, Hereford and Sarum compared” which is at archive.org here

An early English Pontifical which gives some of the texts for this.

Nice one you got there. :slight_smile:

I’ve rather been fascinated with the other Rites and Uses in the Church so thanks for this one. :thumbsup:

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