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Decently habited, XCV

December 2, 2012

At Evensong during Advent, the Revd Dr. Andrew Blume, with acolytes.

Decently habited, all.


Liturgical colour: There is much disagreement about the proper liturgical colour for Advent. The Roman rite prescribes violet, as it does for Lent. The Anglican tradition, and that of other pre-Reformation uses, is more varied. In the Sarum Rite, the Advent colour was red, but it could very well have been the red-purple known as murray, understood to be a royal colour suitable for Our Lord, and one found in many English pre-reformation vestment inventories. At Lichfield in the 13th century, black (which is considered to include violet, indigo, and other dark shades of blue) was given for Advent and Lent, as it was at Westminster. Violet was the colour given at Exeter in the fourtheenth century. There is authority, then, for the use of red, murray, blue, and violet. We use blue vestments, lined in murray, in Advent. This allows us to visually distinguish Advent from Lent and acknowledges both of the major English colour traditions. The notion, however, of a colour called “Sarum blue” for Advent, popular in some quarters, seems to be a twentieth-century fiction.

-from the website of the Church of St. Ignatius of Antioch

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Richard Bowley permalink
    February 27, 2013 09:10

    Interesting on the different liturgical colors for Advent, given of course the different Rites or “Uses” in Pre-Reformation England and the adoption of the Tridentine Mass in the Roman Church in 1570 (unless the rite or “use” pre-dated 1370, of which it may be exempt; the Ambrosian Rite in the Roman Archdiocese of Milan, the Sarum Rite in Anglicanism, and the Mozarabic Rite in Toledo, Spain being examples). What is interesting is that the “Nuvos Ordo” (Mass of Paul VI) Mass vestments for Advent is the darker “blue purple” (the true purple from the Crayola crayon box) while Lenten vestment are the reddish-purple, aka “Roman Purple.” In the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), we use blue (a hold over from Scandinavia) for Advent, the blue being mostly a medium shade, as not to get us mixed up with the dark “Sarum” blue and the lighter “Marian” blue use primarily in Spanish and Fillipino RC parishes on Marian festivals.

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