27 September 2016

More about Effchurch (see a recent post)

I forgot to mention that Effchurch Priory is in the custody of "English Heritage", and that, after the Tridentine High Mass, an Anglican Wedding took place. We found a comfy seat in the warm sun and watched the external accidentia of this bizarre event.

D'ye know, there were ten bridesmaids! But that wasn't the really odd thing, which was: not one of them seemed to be doing any actual bridesmaiding. They were all in an advanced state of squealdom and it took some time to get them lined up before the entry into the church. And they were lined up to precede the Bride! So who, you ask, went behind and held up the Bride's dress out of the mud? ... It fell to one of the two English Heritage employees in black skirts and pullovers! And the Bride's Father held her bouquet for her!

Finally they all tottered into church twenty minutes after the advertised time.

I know I still have some readers out there who have not yet succeeded in liberating themselves from the shackles of Old Mother Damnable; perhaps they will be able to explain these ritual changes which have occurred since the days when I was still around to lend the C of E a touch of style. Is it something in the spirit of Bubbles Stancliff's didactic ceremonialism, designed to evoke the Parable of the deka parthenoi and the eschatological krauge Ecce sponsus venit? Or, as one of my family suggested, might the Ten have been girls who had previously enjoyed the addresses of the numphios? So that as he looked down the church at the Entry, he would have to meet the eyes of each of them, and remember? Another of my family, who has perhaps read too much of Sir J G Frazer, Robert Graves, and poor gullible Margaret Mead, wondered if, in the nox nuptialis, it might be deemed the duty of the numphios to favour each of the ten girls before approaching his Bride, so that it would be a tribute to her hyperaphroditic excellences if she still had the power to move his sated and enervated capacities. Like Heracles and the Forty Nine Daughters of Thespios, sort of, as you might say, or up to a point.

And ... perhaps there are other amusing weirdnesses in up-to-the-minute rapidly-evolving post-Christian Anglican liturgical praxis which Anglican readers could reveal for our delectation? Go on! Spill the beans!

I think I got out just in time. Call me a rat if you like; but the ship was undoubtedly sinking pretty fast, leaving behind it just the flotsam and the jetsam. The Ordinariate, although smaller than the creaky, leaky old Tudor warship, is a very trim and attractive little craft. And we have a lot of fun.


Little Black Sambo said...

They have seen bridesmaids walk in front of the bride in American films. The clergy often encourage couples to make up their own service; it can be quite hard to persuade them that all you want is the Prayer Book.

Colin Spinks said...

It has become the custom for the priest to ask the congregation if they will support the couple in their marriage, and they are encouraged to reply in the affirmative. As this comes after the couple have themselves affirmed their consent to be married to each other, and the questions ("Will you...?") and answers ("I/we will") are similarly framed, one would assume that the congregation are being asked for their consent to the union, and that without a resounding "WE WILL" the marriage could not proceed. However, the congregation have already given their consent, by remaining silent when asked if any "knows any just cause..." So what the heck is the point?

Another "tradition" which has crept in is that of the bridegroom turning around to face his arriving bride. Anyone with a passing knowledge of the stories of Orpheus and of Lot will be aware that this is VERY BAD LUCK indeed!

As for the absurd "You may now kiss the bride"; I am willing to accept that there may still be some couples who have not already consummated their relationship before it being solemnised by the Church, but are we really supposed to believe they have not yet exchanged a kiss?

Donna Bethell said...

Uh, just checking the URL again. I cannot believe that our host was fully appreciated in the auld Tudor tub.

philipjohnson said...

May God Bless you Father.All praise to The Ordinariate!

Banshee said...

The silliness of the "unity candle" finally seems to be going away from secular American weddings, so that is one less thing for the priest to veto at church!

I have a young Protestant evangelical coworker who is going to have an "elven wedding" outside with her minister, poor kid. I think I did manage to convince her to save the speeches and poetry for the reception rather than the vows, on the humane grounds that you don't need stress for the bride and groom.

But it is amazing how people simultaneously want ceremony and beauty and traditions of yore, and reject all the things of that character that their own tradition holds.