The Stripping of the Altars

There are several meanings to this ceremony, in particular the historical remnant of the practice of dressing and stripping the altar after each Mass. The Jansenists of the Pseudo-Synod of Pistoia attempted to revive this practice, as did many “experts” of the modern Roman rite. The spiritual allegory is obvious, the way Christ was cruelly stripped to be mocked, scourged and crucified.

I took this photo of my chapel shortly after the Mass In Coena Domini. Please note, that since I use Sarum, there is no altar of repose. Instead there is the Easter Sepulchre which will receive the third Host at the Mass of the Presanctified tomorrow – and the crucifix with the veil to represent the burial of Christ. These are intense moments of the liturgical year to treasure, and the chapel being “messed up” brings it all home.

There is something new this year for the Easter Sepulchre. Instead of moving the Bishop’s stall out of the way and putting a credence in its place, I have this year simply put a wooden board cut to the right size on top of the Bishop’s stall, and I moved the prie-Dieu to the middle of the chapel. I will move it aside for the Veneration of the Cross.

Lunch will be simple tomorrow: a bowl of rice with some vegetable sauce to make it a little less dry to eat. Technically, one can eat lobster on Good Friday, which of course would be rank hypocrisy! Veganism has become quite fashionable, but for me – only on days of fast and abstinence. My wife will be at work, so she will eat what she wants…

May this Good Friday be an intense moment for us all, because without it, Easter has no meaning.

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3 Responses to The Stripping of the Altars

  1. Brother Juniper CGS says:

    Fr Anthony,

    you say in your post:

    “Please note, that since I use Sarum, there is no altar of repose. Instead there is the Easter Sepulchre which will receive the third Host at the Mass of the Presanctified tomorrow”

    Can you talk a little more about this? I am not familiar with Sarum so have never seen this practice

    Br. Juniper CGS

  2. Rubricarius says:

    A very happy and holy Easter to you and your readers.

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