Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Corpus Christi - from Toledo, Spain

When I was in Toledo, the primatial see within Spain, a couple of years ago I visited the Cathedral, which is one of the larger in Europe. Here is the sanctuary, with its large rood screen. Note also the two pulpits, characteristic of Spanish churches: one for the Epistle and one of the Gospel. I assume that the Epistle and Gospel were read facing outwards. I would not say towards the congregation because where the congregation would have stood and knelt would have been outside the choir. The rest of the choir is actually behind those people you see sitting in the foreground. It is a closed off area protected by a similar iron screen. This is where the archbishops throne and the stalls for the Cathedral canons are located. The Archbishops throne directly faces the Sanctuary in line with the High Altar.

Here is the High Altar with its reredos, over 10 metres high. Similar to other Cathedrals in Spain, the Altar has been moved away from the reredos, and an archbishops throne placed in the middle facing where someone thought that the people should be. This results in the ridiculous situation where there are two thrones in the Choir facing each other. Hopefully this can be corrected someday.

The Monstrance that we saw in the Cathedral Sacristry, was over 3 metres high and is either lifted by a team of 8 to 10 men or wheeled around on a trolley.
Anyway I was please to discover a couple of You-tubes of last week's procession, which brings the feel of the bulilding all to life. With the applause (which has a different meaning to the English speaking world), the rose petals from the roof, the bells, and the general exuburance - how different to our boring minimalist approach in Australia where Corpus Christi is basically ignored, at least in my part of the country.

Here the monstrance is borne into the Cathedral. It looks as if they came through the South transept door, whihc is actually the main entrance off the street.
And the monstrance being carried into the sanctuary.

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