Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Holy Virgin Cathedral

I toook a better look at the interior this weekend - I was there on Saturday, for the arrival of the Kursk icon and the episcopal nomination. I hope more photos of the episcopal consecration will be posted. I noticed for the first time that the central dome has a depiction of God the Father. Not canonical, but it is a carryover of a certain 19th ce Russian fad? The sculpting/woodwork of the iconostasis and other wooden structures in the church is similar to what is in the old Holy Virgin Cathedral. Russian curves to the arches? I prefer more 'classical' arches, semicircular. The altar crucifix had some large elements which overwhelmed the icon of our Lord, which
seemed rather small compared to the overall size of the crucifix.

Vespers/all-night vigil was sung mostly in Slavonic, and with modern Russian choral singing. I don't know if the liturgy OCA would be more 'traditional' with respect to liturgical music. Ruthenian prostopinije in English may take a while to become familiar, but because it is in English and it can be sung by the people, it is more 'popular' and conducive to liturgical piety for the laity, I think. I couldn't understand the Slavonic and I couldn't really participate in Vespers, though I was "attending" to it as best as I could.

Seeing the bishops gathered for the nomination of Archimandrite Nikolai with their mantiyas (capes), I was thinking that they are another example of an article of clothing in which form has priority over function (long capes
which have to be picked up by servers when those wearing them have to climb the steps to enter the sanctuary) - they are mostly symbolic, representative of rank, privilege, or the monastic state.

(What are the rules for vesting during the Hours?)

I suppose clerics of a particular church would have to decide in unison whether they would no longer wear certain vestments - or this would have to be imposed on them by someone with greater authority. Otherwise who would dare to go against the norm for the sake of humility or simplicity? Without the force of custom, would there be a race to show humility, a competition for the appearance of holiness (as simplicity)? Still, it seems to me that certain novelties of the 2nd millenium (the mitre) could be dropped, and the evolution of certain vestments could be reversed, without embracing the polyester/ugliness fad of contemporary American Latin vestments.

Should the pope be the man in white? The papal white is a relic of the Dominican habit - should the bishop of Rome be dressed in a black Roman cassock, though perhaps with different color piping? Currently bishops have violet piping, cardinals red. What would an appropriate "papal" color be? White? Red and gold?

Institute for Orthodox Thought and Culture

St. Thomas Aquinas on Free Choice