Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Liturgical Fashion

by Nancy McCammon-Hansen

John Beatty is an interesting guy. The first time I met him he told me we had a common ancestor. Since I did not know him, I was a little surprised that he knew this tidbit of information but now that we’ve known each other for seven years, his knowledge of my family tree makes far more sense. John and I are both Episcopalians and both interested in history. In our church on West Berry Street, John maintains not only the historical records for our congregation but also for the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. Recently, he pulled some artifacts to show to a genealogy group meeting at the Allen County Public Library, where he works in the Genealogy Center. When the photos popped up on Facebook, I saw the opportunity for a blog post.

Genealogists use church records of baptisms, confirmations, marriages and deaths when researching a family tree. If you do a “Google Search” of genealogy + church records, quite a few sources pop up that you can utilize in your search for your ancestors. Many parish records from English churches are now online or will be soon. John has copied a number of parish records from throughout the Episcopal Church in Northern Indiana and given copies back to the churches and to the ACPL Genealogy Center while maintaining the originals in the space our church has allotted for the archiving work he does.

The parish records are interesting but so are particular artifacts such as photos and vestments.

Examples of some of the records are shown here. The second photo is of baptismal records and the third photo is of Vestry minutes. The book with the red binding in the bottom photo is a Bible.

On the day I visited the “archive room”, John showed me a cope worn by Episcopal Bishop John Hazen White.

Bishop White is depicted in the top photo. In the second photo, John holds a cope used by Bishop White and in the bottom photo you can see detail of the back of the cope.

White was consecrated on May 1, 1895. The Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana had not been created as yet—Indiana parishes and missions were all a part of one diocese with 15 of those parishes in the northern part of the state. White had headed Seabury Divinity School prior to becoming bishop. Seabury would later merge with Western Theological Seminary to become Seabury-Western, an Episcopal seminary located in Evanston, IL.

In 1898, the Diocese of Northern Indiana was formed after a vote at the annual convention. Bishop White had the option to remain in Indianapolis as Bishop of the Diocese of Indiana or to move to the new diocese, which he did. That diocese took as its “see city” Michigan City. At that time, Fort Wayne had only one Episcopal Church, Trinity, formed in 1844. 

In 1918, the name of the diocese was changed to the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Indiana. Bishop White had left the episcopate (bishop’s office) and become the rector of St. James in South Bend. The Diocese of Northern Indiana was re-organized in 1921. In 1925, The Rev. Frances Campbell Grey was elected bishop.

The vestments shown here were a gift of Bishop Grey and date from the time of John Marshall. The pelican is a symbol of self-sacrifice.

“The symbolism of the mother pelican feeding her little baby pelicans is rooted in an ancient legend which preceded Christianity. The legend was that in time of famine, the mother pelican wounded herself, striking her breast with the beak to feed her young with her blood to prevent starvation. Another version of the legend was that the mother fed her dying young with her blood to revive them from death, but in turn lost her own life.

“Given this tradition, one can easily see why the early Christians adapted it to symbolize our Lord, Jesus Christ. The pelican symbolizes Jesus our Redeemer who gave His life for our redemption and the atonement He made through His passion and death. We were dead to sin and have found new life through the Blood of Christ. Moreover, Jesus continues to feed us with His body and blood in the holy Eucharist.”

(The Symbolism of the Pelican by FR. WILLIAM SAUNDERS, http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0682.html)

Other vestments are also housed in the diocesan archives.

The miter, or hat, is worn by a bishop. “The mitre is perhaps the most distinctive symbol of the bishop. Although there is some dispute about how longstanding the tradition is (some claim it is from the time of the apostles) there is no question that mitres have been worn by bishops for at least 1,000 years. Mitres are usually white, gold or red, sometimes quite beautifully embroidered, and have two tails, called ‘lappets’, that fall from the back. The shape of the mitre represents the tongues of fire that rested on the heads of the disciples gathered in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost, when God sent the Holy Spirit to the Church. A bishop receives a mitre during his or her ordination as a bishop, when the Holy Spirit comes to the new bishop in the same way that the Holy Spirit came to the first disciples. …during church services, bishops take their mitres on and off, depending on what is happening in the liturgy. For instance, the bishop always removes the mitre when offering prayer to God.

“The cope, shaped like an outdoor overcoat worn during ancient Roman times, is a cape or cloak that is semicircular, richly ornamented, with a clasp in front and a hood in back. It is worn over the alb and stole. The bishop usually wears a cope at non-Eucharistic liturgies in place of the chasuble. He or she may wear a cope at the Eucharist during the entrance procession and even during the liturgy of the word. Bishops sometimes wear it when performing Episcopal functions such as ordinations and confirmations.”

From http://www.nwtdiocese.org/people/bishop-mayer/bishops-vestments.html which lists as sources including the Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, www.askthepriest.org., Texas Episcopalian November 2008, www.wikipedia.org and The College for Bishops.

The book “Our Heritage: a History of the First Seventy-Five Years of the Diocese of Northern Indiana” by Robert J. Center, 1973, was also used as a source for this blog post.

Special thanks to John Beatty for sharing this information with us.

No comments:

Post a Comment