Monday, October 12, 2009

I bought a sanctuary floor today

Today is supposed to be my day off, at least from after Mass and Confessions, it invariably ends up by not being so. This afternoon I went down to Shoreham docks with Peter our carpenter to buy a sanctuary floor, it arrives tomorrow. The present floorboards are covered in glue, linoleum, mastic, acrylic tiles, more glue and the present horrible stained brown carpet.

I was surprised how cheap it was, less than £1,800. We will have to add the cost of labour then when the work has been finally approved by the Historic Churches Committee we can put a laminated hardwood surface down., unfortunately because the HCC only meets once a quarter, it won't be finished until after Easter.

Nowadays any restoration or "new build" has to take into account both forms of the Roman Rite, even in the recent past, to be faithful to the General Instruction of the Romman Missal Mass said in eithe direction should have been possible. I have been quite insistant that a sanctuary is not a stage, which fortunately is what our architect, Deirdre Waddington, understands too. We have wanted to restore steps up to the altar. It is not just about making sense of the words, "I will go up to the altar of God", but the altar is supposed to symbolise heaven, as well as the hill of Calvary. It is supposed to represent the Holy of Holies and be reminiscent of the bima of the synagogue.

The big problem is putting a freestanding altar into an area designed for the altar to be hard against the wall. We have had to compromise by reducing the planum, the area below the altar to a minimum, it ios not too much of a problem with the Ordinary Form, where the action hinges around the ambo, presidential chair and altar, nor for Low Mass in the Extraordinary Form where the altar is really the only consideration, the problem is going to be with Concelebrated Mass in the OF and High Mass in the EF where there is a need for a certain luxury of space.

We have made modifications to the plans I originally posted, pushing the altar and steps back a little and cutting out an area of steps on each side of the front of the sanctuary, to make space for the chair which will be at right angles to the altar and probably flush with the pillar. The space around the altar has also been reduced so the steps are seen and the servers are visible "ascending and descending". The steps will continue all the way round the altar, the credence table(s) will be placed against the pillars. The servers will have seating in the side chapels, I am not quite sure where we will put a sedillia, we have High Mass on All Souls Day - Faure!
If you can help, we will be grateful.


dillydaydream said...

I just paid nearly that to have my dining room and hall done. I'm very envious of your business skills.P.S - don't tell my husband.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS said...

I'm just loving this. I do hope you will post pictures along the way.

gemoftheocean said...

I'm shocked that there are only quarterly meetings!! [You do know that a camel was really a horse designed by a committee.]

Is there a scale in feet on your drawing?

Sadie Vacantist said...

Visited Leeds Cathedral and their reordered sanctuary is a mess. I wish "litugists" would study art, architecture and film. The Leeds problem is primarily a spatial one. Meaningful symbols are all well and good but they have to make sense visually within any given space.