7 May 2023


Next Tuesday, May 9, could be a Day of Decisions for Reverend Fathers. 

Y'see, on the old ... unreformed ... Pre-Vatican II ... Calendar for the Archdiocese of Edinburgh and S Andrew's, May 9 is the Feast of the Translation of the Relics of S Andrew.

Celebrating feasts of Translations of Relics is one of so many things that link the liturgical instincts, and calendars, of Latin and Byzantine churches. East and West both take seriously the Resurrection; which means taking seriously the cult of Relics. Suffused with the Glory of the Risen Christ, these powerful objects help and guide the people of God in via. It is not surprising that sometimes unedifying details worm their way into the history of Relics and of their Removals; perhaps S Andrew was originally in Patras until you-know-who translated him to Constantinople; perhaps we are not too proud of the events of 1204 which led to the onward journey of the Saint to Amalfi. My assumption ... correct me if I am wrong ... is that May 9 was the day in 1879 when a piece of the shoulder of the Holy Protoclete was moved by Archbishop Strain to the new National Shrine of S Andrew in Edinburgh.

Does the feast of the Translation (a "greater Double") still edify the Faithful of Ediburgh, and visiting Pilgrims, on May 9? I devoutly pray that it does. Even in the possibly discreditable details of the continual peregrinations of such relics there is, surely, a Providence.

But stay! Here is another Translation, this year celebrated in Birmingham on the Tuesday after the IVth Sunday after Easter: the Translation of the Relics of S Chad, originally in Lichfield, were moved to the new Puginesque shrine in Birmingham. My assumption ... please coreect me if I am wrong ... is that this Day commemorates the Translation of 1841.

Perhaps there is an intriguing detail here. Perhaps the Feast of the Translation was fixed onto a particular day of a particular week, rather than onto a day of a month, in order to prevent it from ever getting entangled with Ascension and Pentecost etc.. There are at least two ways of liturgically dating significant events!

I expect some reader will know what happened. Diocesan Propers in backs of old Missals and Breviaries can be useful sources of information.

I do hope to be corrected where, in this piece, I have let  my speculations run away with me!                    


Atticus said...

Father, your earnest prayers doth God requite,
And thus the gladsome news do I recite:
That Mass, at eight of morn and six at night,
In Edinb’rgh will be said, in the Old Rite,
By priests of the Fraternity (what meeter?)
Of holy Andrew’s holy brother Peter.


Christifidelis said...

Dear Reverend Father,
I dug up an old LMS Ordo from 2010 that I had happened to have saved on my computer.
The translation of the relics of St. Chad was on Tue 4th May of that year, being the Tuesday following the Fourth Sunday of Easter.
Therefore, your assumption that this feast is fixed with respect to a Sunday of Eastertide would seem to be correct.

In Christo Rege.