Saturday, 27 December 2008


What is unusual in this photograph? At first sight nothing seems to be wrong. It looks like a bishop in a precious mitre and purple cope, with green and gold episcopal pectoral cord and although hidden a pectoral cross, lighting an Advent candle.

The place is Betlehem. The service is I Vespers of Advent. The one lighting the candle is Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM. He is the custodian of the Holy Shrines for the Latins and as such he has the privelege of wearing episcopal insignia on appointed days. He does not carry the staff as that is reserved to the Patriarch. Abbots have this privelege too including the staff, but I do not know of a friar who has the same? Do you?

2 comments:

Andrew Teather said...

Not a friar, although I think it could have (once) been possible. The Parish Priest of Our Lady and Saint John's (now St Johns) RC Church in Chorlton,where I used to live (indeed my staunchly atheist family were members of the RC drinking club) had the ability to wear a mitre on certain solemn occasions. He was a great friend of Jack Charlton and my grandfathers (for different reasons, my grandfather was a brewer!) and was well loved in the area. He was a secular Priest, but I am unaware of any ban stopping a Priest of an order having such a dispensation, I know of a Jesuit who once did.

Fr Ivan D Aquilina SSC said...

But was the mitre a "pretiosa" or an "alba damascata" as given to Protonotaries Apostolics and a handful of mitred archpriests?