12 August 2021

S Lawrence

We are still in his Octave!!

(1) There is a medieval picture reproduced on Fr Zed's blog showing S Lawrence being ordained ... and he is (apparently) being given (in the porrectio instrumentorum) the Chalice and Paten, not the Gospel Book. There must be something here which I'm failing to grasp. Sort me out!

(2) Of course, the Deacon did have a special responsibilty for the Chalice. As the Fourth Responsory on S Lawrence's Day has him saying, "[mihi] commisisti Dominici sanguinis dispensationem". This survived  in the C of E, where commonly a young man spent a year in the Parish as a deacon before his priesting, and during that period went along the Altar Rail at Mass with the Chalice behind the priest. At Anglican Catholic High Masses, the Deacon of the Mass went along the rail administering the Chalice; it was the Subdeacon of the Mass who wielded the Communion plate.

Incidentally, in a 1921 Breviary (Typis A. Mame et filiorum) which I have, the frontispiece shows a priest, apparently in S Agnes' in Rome, administering the Lord's Body to a male communicant (into his right hand, incidentally) while a deacon holds the chalice to the lips of a woman. Both communicants kneel, and the whole conception looks very old-fashioned-Anglican ... except for the tonsures ...

Readers will remember my lucid explanation of how Mysterium Fidei made its way into the Roman Verba Domini.

(3) On the Feast of S Lawrence, the first Reading in the Second Nocturn (by S Leo the Very Great, of course) seems to me to say ... or, at the very least, to imply ... that if S Lawrence had handed over the wealth of the Roman Church to the Government, he would have counted as a traditor and thereby would be deemed to have abandoned the Christian Faith. 

'Traditor', in the early centuries, meant Apostate.

Does this ring any bells with my learned readership? I have always assumed that we respect this great Saint, the Third of the mighty Patrons of Rome together with SS Peter and Paul, for his simple act of megacharity to the Christian poor. An uncomplicated example of charity for us all to emulate.

If my take on the words of S Leo were to be right, this might be another example of how easy it is in one age to misunderstand the cultural context of a different age and, consequently, to get one's assumptions (particularly of motives), quite simply, wrong.

I seek help; more with regard to (1) and (3) than to (2).


Unknown said...

S. Lawrence was martyred in the Valerianic persecution of 258 (and there is a contemporary letter of S. Cyprian which refers to him, though not by name). Was the term "traditor" in use that early. I thought it arose in the Great Persecution when the authorities demanded the handing over of Christian books and so "traditor" was much used by the Donatists. The requirements of Decius and Valerian involved sacrifice, not books. Was "traditor" used by the Novatianists ?

Albrecht von Brandenburg said...

The Deacon has always been the ordinary minister of the Precious Blood, so there's that.


Paulusmaximus said...

Re (1), in the Fra Angelico fresco in question, there is a cleric (deacon?) standing on the far side of Sixtus II and Lawrence. He is holding a book (Gospel?). Is the scene suggesting that he is about to hand this book to the Pope for presentation to Lawrence?

Paulus said...

This comment was written just in order to complain about the abomination of "simple octaves" which were introduced in 1913.

Br. Edmund said...

Dear Father. Yesterday, or the day before, Father Z, as is also known, published a theory on te possibility of Saint Lawrence handling the Holy Grail "of Valencia” to a spanish cleric after the martyrdom of Saint Sixtus and before his own life giving. It's posible a correlation between the Holy Grail legend and the depiction of Saint Lawrence?

Marco da Vinha said...

Didn't certain medieval rites have the deacon preparing the oblata before Mass? In the Bgragan rite that was the case, and I'm pretty sure that happened also with many other medieval uses.