17 May 2011

One of the many reasons...

... I love David Jay Webber is his amazing ability in digging up goodies like this, showing the distribution of the Sacrament in the Lutheran Church in days of yore.  The altar boys are holding a housling cloth, lest any of the consecrated elements fall to the ground.  The host was administered on one side and the chalice on the other.  The people moved from the one to the other.

14 comments:

Pr. H. R. said...

Where and when?

+HRC

William Weedon said...

Abb.6: “Herzog Albrecht von Preußen empfängt in der Domkirche zu Königsberg zum ersten Mal das Abendmahl nach protestantischem Ritus” Aquarell von Karl Ludwig Julius Rosenfelder (1817 – 1881)

See:
http://rogatekloster.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/2011-rogate-kloster-bilder-luth-gottesdienst.pdf

Terry Maher said...

Pretty much what I did as an altar boy -- no cup of course, and the cloth was a paten I held under the chin of the communicant (no such thing as communion in the hand) for just that reason, that nothing accidentally fall to the ground.

And if it did, only the priest could pick it up, having consecrated fingers and all.

Anonymous said...

I wish we still used such a cloth or paten. At my parish we use a loaf that's pretty crumbly. Small pieces frequently fall to the floor.

christl242 said...

der Domkirche zu Königsberg

Whoa, that was the area around which my mother's ancestors settled. Very cool.

Unfortunately by the time she was born the Prussian Union had had its effects on Lutheran worship as I remember her telling me that the Sacrament was not offered weekly at her church, nevertheless, she related that Holy Communion was a very sacred and meaningful event and everyone dressed in their Sunday best and received with thankfulness and reverence.

Still, it is wonderful to see this glimpse into the catholicy of Lutheran worshipin East Prussia in the aftermath of the Reformation.

Christine

Terry Maher said...

Ironic that our ancestors in faith came here to escape the state enforced compromise of Lutheran doctrine and practice with other things, and now we willingly engage in same.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous: When pieces of the Body fall to the floor, I hope that someone licks them off the floor. I am not joking.

David Jay Webber said...

Notice that the housling cloth is being held only underneath the distribution of the host. Underneath the distribution of the chalice, it is a silver tray that is being held. That way, if a drop or two of the consecrated wine would be spilled, it wouldn't be absorbed into the material of a cloth, but could be licked off the tray.

David Jay Webber said...

The painting comes from the 19th century, but what it portrays is the conversion to Lutheranism of Albert of Prussia, the last Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, in the first half of the 16th century. Back in the old days, before anyone ever dreampt up the abomination of open communion, someone's decisive act of showing that he had embraced a certain confession was to commune at an altar of that confession.

William Weedon said...

Did you also note the sacring bell in the altar boy's hand?

David Jay Webber said...

Yes I did. But to the negative, I also noticed that the celebrant is not wearing a chasuble. In many churches of the period chasubles were retained, but apparently not in Koenigsberg. :-(

William Weedon said...

Yup, noticed that too...

Joanne said...

I would imagine that Rosenfelder is basing his image on a written description of this service. Do we have that? I'd like to check his historical reliability. It's also possible that the chasuble was there but not mentioned in the text, or in the text, but not in the image. Artists who meant to document history with even far less than centuries of remove, are often found to widely miss the mark. (i.e. the 16th century French drawings of American Indians of Florida turn out to be South American Indians)

David Jay Webber said...

And yet in many contemporary 16th- and 17th-century artistic depictions of Lutheran Communion services, we can see that the chasuble was not universally retained - or, in some places where it may have been retained, it was optional and was not always used. In that big PDF file, there are quite a few examples of Lutheran pastors officiating without chasubles.

My favorite ones, though, are where they are wearing them - such as the picture from 17th-century Hamburg, where some of my ancestors lived at the time.