Chasuble (Chesible, or Chesuble)

Chasuble (Chesible, Or Chesuble).

We give additional particulars respecting this important clerical garment: laymen as ecclesiastics in very early ages; but in later times its use has been confined exclusively to bishops and priests, and it has become -the distinctive official. vestment of the holy eucharist. Its primitive form was perfectly round, with an aperture in the centre for the head, and this we find figured in the Benedictional of St. Ethelwold (Fig. 1). If intended for use in processions, a hood was sometimes affixed to the back; for at that period the chasuble was not restricted to the ministry of the altar. There is another form of this vestment, too, almost circular, which appears to be the oldest in existence, figured in the mosaic of St. Vitaliss' Church, at Ravenna, the date of which is A.D. 547.. In England its shape continued to be nearly circular for about six centuries after the mission of Augustine (Fig. 2). A chasuble discovered about thirty years ago in a whlled-up aumbry at Waterford, in' Ireland, is also of this form. When a change was made, the only alteration seems to have been that two opposite parts of the circumference were made to dome to a point. This form was in use for many ages, and is that frequently represented on memorial brasses; but, - for about three hundred years before the Reformation, the chasuble was likewise made in the shape of a vesica piscis, and the ornaments with which it was then decorated became far more elaborate, and consequently richer and more beautiful. This shape must likewise be very old, for it is figured on the recently discovered frescos at, St. Clement's, Rome, where the wearer, with outstretched arms, is giving the pax. Another shape differing from those depicted in the other illustrations, is that of the ancient and precious vestment of St. Thomas of Canterbury, still preserved at the cathedral of Sens (Fig. 3). It has the Y-cross both before and behind. The aperture for the head is almost square, and the sides are unusually long and deep. The chasuble of St. Boniface, apostle of Germany, preserved at Mayence, is also very like that of St. Thomas. The chasuble was usually made of silk, satin, velvet, or damask, though sometimes of inferior materials.

"It is now necessary to describe the Orphrey (aurifrigium) and the 'Flower,' as it was called, of the chasuble, which, in the Middle Ayes. were so elaborately decorated by embroiderers. The Chasuble. former was a band, which ran up behind and before' through the middle. Properly speaking, there was no cross upon the old English chasuble, but at the breast sprang out (from the pectorce, or pillar), in the shape of the forked part of a large Y, two other bands (called numerals),.which wen-t over the shoulders, until in the same form from behind they met (in the dorsal) (Fig. 4). In more modern times this Y-shaped figure has been transformed into a cross, while sometimes a crucifix is embroidered ion the back of this vestment.' The illustration of the flowing old English chasuble in the accompanying woodcut (Fig. 5) is from an ancient memorial brass. Here the whole of the eucharistic vestments are depicted, while the-position of the priest, in the act of blessing the chalice, is remarkable, for it is unknown in the case of any other brass in existence. The flower (flos casulce) of the chaseuble was a splendid piece of floriated embroidery round the neck, which spread itself down the front and the back — representations of which 'may be seen in' the cathedrals of Exeter, Peterborough, and Lincoln. Three bransses remain of bishops in full eucharistic vestments of post- Reformation periods-viz., Thomas Goodrich, in 1554, at Ely Cathedral;. John Bell, bishop of Worcester, in 1556, from St. James's, Clerkenwell, in possession of .the late J. G. Nichols, Esq., F.S.A.; and Robert Pursgrlove, suffragan bishop of Hull, in 1579, at Tideswell, Derbyshire."'

"In the Fourth Council of Toledo it was reckoned a sacred habit. Its old English name was Massa hakele, the "mass mantle." The world occurs first in the year 474, in the will of St. Perpetnus, of Tours. The Greek chasuble was of equal width all round, from the top to the bottom. The Western form was that of pointed ends behind and before; and the early mosaics of the 6th century show it thus sloping and hollowed, reaching to the feet; but there are other examples which portray it shorter, as it is worn at present, the ends being frequently rounded; A remarkable vestment of this kind It St. Apollinaris,' Ravenna, bears the name of the Chasuble of the Diptychs, as it is. covered with an auriclave, orphrey, or superhumeral, a band of golden stuff, like an ancient archiepiscopal pall, sewn behind and before, and divided round the neck, covered with the names and heads of thirty- five bishops of Verona, in succession, from the foundation of the see to the middle of the 5th century. The name of auriclave, like orphrey, meaning the 'goldbordered,' was given to the chasulble from its peculiar embroidery on the onophorion or alticlave, a band originally of a different color from the robe, and called the anriclave when made of cloth of gold. One of this kind, of the 5th century, is preserved in the cathedral of Ravenna. St. Stephen's chasuble, made by Grisella, queen of Hungary, in 1031, is preserved at Buda, and worn by the sovereign-at his coronation; its color is green. There are two at Madeley, of the 14th century, which were probably brought from Much-Wenlock. One at Talncre is said to have come from Basingworth. There is one at Salisbury in green and gold, of the 16th century. The chasuble called palliate had the pall sewn upon it. Until-the 12th or 13th century the pectoral or front did hot differ in form from the dorsal or back. The superhumeral dwindled into a narrow collar, and the cross on the back of the chasuble is the last relic of the anliclave. From an early date chasubles were ornamented, with sacred designs, flowers, and symbolical animals and birds, a usage permitted by the Second Council of Nicea. The processional chasuble hand a hood, which was worn in France until the latter half of the 9th century. In England the ends of the chasuble took the shape of the reversed arch of the pointed style of architecture. From being used specially at the time of celebration, it was emphatically called 'the vestment.' Cranmer says, The over-vesture or chesible signifieth the purple mantle that Pilate's soldiers put upon Christ after that they had scourged him; as touching the minister, it signifies charity, a virtue excellent above all other."

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.