Monday, October 17, 2005

Canons in Cappa

Here is a nice article (in Italian, though) about canons in Paterno/Sicily, who had the right to wear the cappa magna. Every year on Good Friday they would have a procession through the streets of the town during which the trains of the Cappae would just trail on the ground behind the canons. Toghether with the matching zucchetto, stockings and buckled shoes this must have been some sight. And if I get it right (with my limited Italian and the not always reliable help of the Google Language Tool), the author of the article laments the disappearance of this old and beautiful custom.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Here's a funny one:

A little episode about a mishap of Josef Cardinal Frings, Cologne:

It was at the end of a solemn pontifical mass in the Cologne cathedral. Cardinal Frings, already vested in cappa magna, got up from his throne and took one little step too much. He tripped over some part of his robes, fell, managed to turn in flight so he wouldn't land to harshly and then rolled down the altar stairs, wrapping himself up in the train of his cappa magna. There was a moment of total and complete silence, as the Cardinal was lying in the isle before the altar, tightly wrapped up in scarlet watered silk from neck to feet. I don’t know how many people would have liked to crack a joke or burst out laughing, but, as the man who was Frings’ caudatarius on that day told me, nobody even took a breath. And nobody moved. So in the end the Cardinal himself had to ask the amazed bystanders to snap out of it, to move their be-hinds, to unwrap him and to help him up.

That probably was the day when Frings decided to become more modern and liberal.

Did you know that... (2)

… the Cappa Magna originally was a horse blanket?

When cardinals rode on horses or – in the early middle ages – on mules (Matthew, 21), they protected the animals against the cold by having their capes made wider, so not only the men, but also the mules were covered. I don’t exactly know when horses started to become 30 feet long, though. Nah, just kidding. The lengthening of the Cappa is, of course, due to the Church’s ability to see something good and make it better.

Here is an excerpt from the “Stanza di Eliodoro” by Raphael. It shows Leo the Great confronting Attila. The confrontation ended with the retreat of the Huns after, with the assistance of God (and of the saints Peter and Paul, which we see above the Pope), Leo convinced Attila that no good would come out of attacking and sacking the defenseless city. If we take a look at Greece, we can only imagine what would have happened to Rome, had the Huns indeed attacked and devastated it.

The face of the Pope is a portrait of Leo X, successor of Julius II, Raphael’s original patron.
Behind the Pope you can see two cardinals on horseback. Their capes are covering the horses as well. There you have an early form of the Cappa Magna. During the time of Leo X. long trains were already in use, though.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Gone to Rome...

Hi everybody,

sorry for not posting lately, but I went to Rome to start my studies and things are kind of busy right now. I know the internet is a very fast medium and most of you guys probably already think I'm dead. Well I'm not and I will be posting stuff soon. So don't give up! Come back in a couple of days/weeks and get the the newest, the freshest, the hippest directly from Rome (no, not from the Loggia, sorry).