Monday, January 29, 2007

A Carthusian Video

I know nothing about this French monastic community, they are obviously following a Carthusian way of life, but they appear to be mixed monks and nuns, there also seems to be a heavy Orthodox influence. Some of the architecture is also interesting, a ciborium (canopy) over the altar in the manner of some of the ancient Roman churches. I would be grateful if someone who can give me more information. Enjoy the solemn Salve Regina, I think it is a Carthusian variant.

This is the UTube tag. "Monastic Community of Bethlehem, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary,and St Bruno."living the hidden life of Desert fathers and mothers...2 distinct Communities of Catholic Monks and Nuns, belonging to the same Monastic Family. Founded 1950, worldwide based in France
This presentation more of a focus on the Brothers."

I found this on Orthofully Catholic a blog written by anonymous seminarians somewhere in England. I have added them to our "Interesting Blogs" section. They are well worth checking out.


Anonymous said...

Glory to Jesus Christ!
hello Father, i am creator of the slideshow on "Community of Bethlehem, The Assumption of the Virgin, and St Bruno".....i have stayed with the Brothers in Italy and France, and on retreat at the Sisters in NY.
I am in Canada.
Just some points. They are not Carthusians,nor associated, though heavily influenced, and have been given St Bruno as patron, by the Church.
as well, an important note, they are NOT mixed. They look and live quite the same, but are physically/geographically apart, and cloistered.
There Divine office is essentially Byzantine, Palestinian Usage. They are Roman Catholics.
The music in slideshow are mixed voice, because it is the closest i had to their sound on CD. The Music of the individual Monastic Communities of Bethlehem Brothers and sisters, i have only on cassette.
More details in my YouTube account

Peace, Emile-James

Anonymous said...

Fr Ray, one of the things I like best about your blog are the wonderful video clips you find. This is one of the most beautiful and interesting you've posted and I want to thank you for finding it. For Christmas I was given a book about the church architect, Sir Ninian Comper, who designed some magnificent ciboria in his churches. He thought they were an indispensible adjunct to the Christian altar and apparently he wanted to put one up at Downside. Have you deen his work? The chapel at the All Saints Pastoral Centre near St Albans is amazing and I'me going to see it soon. I'd never heard of him but I've become a fan. Thanks again for the clip.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the church belonging to one of these communities that had the ciborium/baldacchino over the altar I thought how much better their other churches would look if they had one too. I've also read the Comper book and I'm impressed by what Fr Symondson says about the necessity of ciboria with square altars. In one of his articles he cites the authority of Edmund Bishop, the liturgiologist, who first rediscovered the indispensability of the ciborium for an authentic Christian altar. Bishop's ideas had a strong influence on mid-c20 liturgical thought and it was he who first coined the phrase 'noble simplicity' as characterising the Roman Rite. He also said it was emblematic of 'sobreness and sense'. I suspect he would not like the way his principles have been trivialised since Vatican II and reduced to slogans for diminishment. It seems that he and Comper knew each other and I think Comper's work embodies the 'noble simplicity' in his liturgical planning and design that they both understood and wanted to promote. A great deal of what many think of as 'tradition' is aesthetically caught up in the tasteless vulgarity of l'Art de St Sulpice and the rubbish of the c19 French Catholic Revival, against which the Holy Father reacted in his early days and reacts against still. If anybody wants to read the book its called 'Sir Ninian Comper: an Introduction and Gazetteer', by Anthony Symondson and Stephen Bucknall, Spire Books, £29. It is well-written and taught me much I did not know before. But, having read it, I am now convinced that the use of ciboria should be revived if sanctuaries are to be given dignity once more. Sorry this has gone on for longer than I intended, but it was inspired by the church in the clip and Damian's comment that followed.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I love All Saints Comper chapel,I don't know his work well but it appeals to my romantic Gothic sense.
I must read Symondson's book, thanks for drawing attention to it.

Anonymous said...

One more point about Fr Symondson's and Stephen Bucknall's book on Comper, Fr Ray. Fr Symondson demonstrates convincingly that Comper's work is not lost in romanticism, his theories have a perennial application and point to a way out of the present impasse in modern church architecture and liturgical expression. Comper's ideal was beauty, which naturally appeals to a romantic temperament, but his planning and use of the historic language of architecture has a more profound application to worship than aesthetics. For that reason, in my opinion it is an important book and makes me want to seek out more of Fr Symondson's own writing. So far I only know it from his contributions to the Catholic Herald. I wish he would publish more in this crucial area.

Fr Ray Blake said...

It appeals to MY romantic Gothic sense, as I say I do not know his work well. I just love the glitter and the richness of colour I see when I going into a Church the has been "Comperised".

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