Wednesday, 15 June 2011

The Final Masses

After the Pilgrimage, but before we returned home, the groups heard Holy Mass in the crypt of Chartres Cathedral. Three priests said private Masses while the group heard Mass celebrated by the main chaplain Fr Edwards.

The chapels in the crypt are quite fine. Though simple in many respects, they have a ‘noble simplicity’ which is so often spoken of. Of course the crypt holds the main shrine of the Virgin who was to come, the pre-Christian shrine which is the reason for the Cathedral being in this place, but there are also 7 or so other chapels or altars. I am not too sure about the exact number, because part of the crypt is not open to the public and some ‘spaces’ I suspect were once chapels. Some of the chapels you can see in the pictures below.

One of the interesting sights is the Mass being read in the chapel below. I do not know why priest is wearing gold during the Octave of Pentecost, but in second picture shows the same Mass through a window outside the Cathedral in the passageway down to the crypt.

This is a hagioscope, an architectural feature which is often seen cut through transepts in churches so that the faithful could see the altar, or in walls of churches so that the sick could hear or see Mass (my old seminary, Oscott, had one such in the Pugin chapel, on the Gospel side next to the pulpit, seen as a circle on the wall).

This is the first one I have come across with a view to the outside of a church crypt.
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