Re: Re: reorganisation and destruction of irish catholic churches

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Here we have a drawing of the 15th. secene in the cycle of the lisfe of St Martin of Tours from the Tapisseries de Montepezat. These were woven at Tournai about 1520 and recount the life and miracles of St. martin of Tours as they are recounted in St. Severes’ Vita dating from the IV century.

What is interesting here is the the manner in which we see all the elements of a medieval church in use: our famous chair on the South side; the recessed credence with the cruets; the curtain hangings around the altar; the altar raised on one step; and even more interestingly, the position of the chalice on the altar -it is placed side-ways indicating that Holy Communion has already taken place (in fact St. Martin is in the act of reading the Last Gospel). This positioning of the chalice indicates that the makers of the tapestery depict him using -what in England is called the Sarum Rite or Usage, that is the celebration of the Mass according to the ritual use of the Cathedral of Salisbury which, in turn, was borrowed by the invading Normans from the Cathedral of Rouen in Normandy. This was the usage which also prevailed in Ireland before the reformation – as can be seen from the few relics left from the pre-reformation period, including items such as teh Meagh Chalice (which is slightly later) and the de Burgo chalice with the star shaped based which were required to prevent the chalice from rolling off of the altar.

The drawing was published in volume 3 of A.N. Didron’s Annales Archéologiques in 1845 (ante p. 95)..

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