Wednesday, August 06, 2008

St Birinus at Dorchester

One of the many pleasures at Merton was meeting up with Fr John Osman, who I hadn't seen for over two decades. I had heard of his restoration of his Church in Dorchester, when it hit the liturgical sites with pictures of its Lenten array. The picture here is from a series by Br Lawrence Lew OP, foolishly I didn't take any of the altar myself, so do look at his.

St Birinus is quite tiny but jewel-like, especially with work that Father John has instigated. Immediately opposite the door is a copy of this medieval statue of Our Lady, the original is at Ampleforth, it is a wonderful contrast with rood screen which glitters and glows. The gilding and shading on the figures has not yet been completed, when it is it will be breathtaking. I was fascinated by the housling clothes, which are used as communicants choose to kneel to receive. The altar is ad orientem, not only is it against the wall but it has riddle curtains too, so exquisitely English.

Once the rood screen has been finished the next project is restoration of the glorious sanctuary ceiling and a little restrained decoration on the elegant nave roof.


gemoftheocean said...

What beautiful pictures. Thanks for the "tour." I am struck by how narrow the central aisles seem to be both in this church and your own.


Volpius Leonius said...

That looks like a beautiful place worthy of saying Mass in and housing Our Lord.

I just discovered rood screens recently and thought to myself how wonderful it would be to have these become more widespread so its nice to see at least one place were they are been brought back into use.

Joe of St. Thérèse said...

Beautiful, beautiful

Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Incredible pictures.

Dilly said...

I hope both Cromwells, (Thomas, who began the desecration of Catholic Churches, and Oliver, who finished them off) are looking up from the pits of hell and despairing. Or is unecumenical schadenfreude a sin these days? Sorry.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...