Sepulto Domino

In the Use of Sarum, we don’t use an altar of repose. The second two hosts of Maundy Thursday are simply put into the hanging pyx. On Good Friday, after the Liturgy of the Presanctified, the third host is put into the Easter Sepulchre as is the crucifix where they remain until the morning of Easter Sunday. The symbolism is somewhat different to the Roman rite that focuses on the prayer of Jesus at Gethsemane and a desacralised church on Good Friday to Holy Saturday. Sarum focuses on the intimate unity between the death of Christ and his Resurrection via this continued Presence. Easter Sepulchres in medieval churches are usually very ornate, and many remain from pre-Reformation days. I use a wooden board on the bishop’s throne (Bishop Damien Mead has sat on it once) and an urn I made some years ago, covered with a humeral veil.

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1 Response to Sepulto Domino

  1. Rubricarius says:

    Indeed the Sarum praxis, and that of other northern Uses, makes far more sense than the post-1570 Roman pattern. The ‘Watch’ in our English churches took place all through this night and tomorrow and not as in the ‘modern’ Roman rite of adoration through Maundy Thursday until the Mass of the Pre-Sanctified. Altars of Repose are very late and appear to be intimately connected with the rise of the Quarant’Ore.

    In many churches the Sepulchre was just a wooden structure. Some of the extant examples are almost the same design as what one sees today in Greek churches for the Epitaphios. The north side of the chancel, where the Sepulchre stood, was the burial choice of monied persons with bequests etc with the idea that after departing this life the benefactor would have the Sepulchre, flickering candles and many prayers being said above the place where their earthly remains laid.

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