Re. post 109
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It also shares the remarkable distinction of being the only major Catholic Church in Ireland to have actually been improved by internal reordering, when thee fussy later altar was removed and replaced by a simple modern table altar, which accords harmoniously with the early Christian style of the interior.
While the import of the above is not exactly clear, the idea that the modern undersized altar in Longford Cathedral "accords harmoniously" with the early Christian style of the interior is quite remarkable for its evident obliviouness to the findings of Christian archeology and the factual testimony of those Basilicas which still conserve their original spacial lay out. The result of Cathal Daly's reordering of Longford is a modern construct derived from contemporary theories that has been brutally superimposed on a neo classical basilical context.
Were the reordering to have been conducted with the idea of reproducing or reinterpreting the prinicples underlying the spacial outlay of an early Christian Basilica, then the outcome would have been considerably different. It would have required emptying the nave of its benches]Solea[/I] extending one third of its length and marked off by barriers; a transverse barrier to mark off the Sanctuary; and the construction of a Ciborium
over an altar on a raised dais. [See attachment 1 and 2]
In this system, the nave is reserved for the entry and exit of the Roman Pontiff and his attendants at least since the year 314when he was invested with the Praetorian dignity. When he arrived at the main door, his military or civil escort was shed; he processed through the nave with clergy any other administrative attendants until he reached the gate of the Solea
at which point all lay attendants were shed; the lower clergy lined up in the Solea
and remained there while the Pontiff, accompanied by the Proto Deacon of the Holy Roman Church and the Deacon of the Basilica accompanied him through the gate of the Sanctuary as far as the Altar where other priests or Bishops awaited him.
The laity were confined to the side isles; the matroneum (or womens' side); and the senatorium (men's side).
In Rome, two extant eamples of this spacial disposition illustrate the point: Santa Sabina which is partially intact [attachment 3]; but, more importantly, San Clemente which is well preserved [attachment 4].
Remarkably, the author who believes that the present interior lay out of Longford Cathedral somehow reflects that of an early Christian Basilica quite obviously has not read Richard Krautheimer's Corpus Basilicarum Christianarum Romae
and may not have been familiar with the same author's Early Christian and Byzantine Architecture
(Yale University Press). C. H. Kraeling's The Christian Building (The Excavations at Dura Europos...Final Report, VIII, 2
(Yale University Press) and T. Matthew's writings on the disposition of the chancel in early Christian Basilicas (Revista di Archeologia Cristiana, XXXVIII , pp. 73ff. would certainly dispel any notion of even a remote connection between the early Christian Basilica and the current pastiche in Longford Cathedral.