1 April 2014

Mgr Ronald Arbuthnott Knox, Clio ipsissima, MA

Feeling like some Comfort Reading, and having assured myself via OLIS that the Union Library contained a copy of Knox's Barchester Pilgrimage, I popped in and collared it the other morning.

Inside the front cover is this hand-written piece of intelligence (your doing, Mr W?):

"Considered for withdrawal 15/1/2007 on grounds of low usage. Reprieved by Library Committee as the author is an ex-president."

Knox's Explanatory Dedication is dated "Barchester, Feast of St Ewold, 1935". His narratives reveal that in the pre-Pius XII era, the Propria Dioecesis Hogglestockiensis included S Ewold as a Double (with a commemoration of Ss Promiscuus and Miscellaneus* and 'Com Octt SS App et S Io Bapt') on June 31 (or prid. Kal. Iul., which of course amounts to exactly the same thing).

Some questions: The Saint died either in 924/5 or 934 (there is some confusion in the sources about the date, but clearly he is not to be confused with either of the two Northumbrian Ewalds). Can anyone set him in his historical context? He was 'provided' to the See of Barchester by our late Holy Father Pope Christopher just after he had murdered his predecessor Leo V and just before he was in turn murdered by his own successor Sergius III ... back in those splendidly Romantic 'Ann Radcliff' days when the routine was for popes to murder their predecessors rather than automatically to canonise them (curiously, it has never occurred to them, as an exercise in inclusive thinking, to do both). Was this rather an early example of a papal 'provision' to an English see? Does S Ewold crop up in Sarah Foot's book on Athelstan? His shrine, so the Monsignore tells us, was in the South Transept of Barchester Cathedral until temp. Henrici viii (near, I believe, to where the appalling monument to Bishop Deadletter now stands); I believe a relic of his big toe (left foot) did survive in the superb collection of relics in Hartwell Grissell's Relics Chapel in S Aloysius Church in Oxford until, in the 1970s, the Jesuits desecrated the chapel and burned all the relics and reliquaries (this, of course, was before Bishop-elect Byrne and his Oratorians took it over). Why is there a cultus of him in Jersey? What form should the celebration of his next centenary, in a few years time, take? I don't think his Medieval Collect has survived; as far as I know, there are no mss or printed editions of the Missale ad Usum insignissimae Ecclesiae Barnicestrensis (although there is just one quire from a Portiforium in the Barchester Chapter Library, DC15a/5, with hand-written corrections by S Ewold's fourteenth century successor Bishop ffoliott ... but it doesn't cover the end of June).
*Their removal from the Calendare Generale is yet another crime which can be laid at the door of Annibale Bugnini. Such excisions may appear mere details, but in my view they subvert the diachronic unities which are fundamental to the Church Militant as an institution subsisting in Time as well as in Eternity.


Josephus Muris Saliensis said...

Festiva verba interretis in Kal Aprilis!

Mike Cliffson said...

I Read on in vain, but no, your nonreference to Pope Joan shows a valient distinctly post as opposed to ante meridional resistance to temptation , unless you considered it too obvious or the lily sufficiently gilded, or I never caught past posts of today's date .

Joshua said...

I feel sure that I read elsewhere in Knox of the feast of SS Promiscuus and Miscellaneus as falling on the 30th of February. Perhaps there are two such saintly duos, or does one observance stem from the Gallican and the other from the Roman calendar, as is the case for the two (former) feasts of the Cathedra Petri?

And I would be ever so delighted to find a copy of their collect… a masterpiece of Leonine latinity, no doubt.

The Flying Dutchman said...

Thanks for this post. I hadn't heard about Monsignor Knox's Barchester Pilgrimage, but now I'm getting a copy and trust it will be very enjoyable.

Stephen said...

Why does Bugnini always take the fall, when he was only doing his masters bidding? Why the reluctance to take it up with Pius XII and Paul VI, who appointed Bugnini and to whom Bugnini reported? What is being whitewashed?

tubbs said...

And here I thought that only your fool cousins across the pond celebrated the First.

Oh April IS the cruelest month!

Tee Pee Gee Eff said...

" the routine was for popes to murder their predecessors rather than automatically to canonise them (curiously, it has never occurred to them, as an exercise in inclusive thinking, to do both)."

I was going to suggest Celestine V but he was canonised by someone else and New Advent says the story Boniface VIII murdered him is a calumny