William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Ash Wednesday

Memento, homo, quia pulvis es, et in pulverem reverteris.

Lent has begun for the Christian West. A blessed fast to all.

9 comments:

Rubricarius said...

Interesting that the image (from the St. Andrew's Daily Missal?) has the bishop sprinkling ashes over the heads of penitents, the ancient praxis, rather than giving them on the forehead.

ochlophobist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ochlophobist said...

Rubricarius -

Do you recommend any particular history of the rite? I'd like to know more about the transition from sprinkling to forehead and the reasons for it. When did the change occur?

M. Jordan Lichens said...

When I was studying in Italy I attended an Ash Wednesday mass where the ashes were still sprinkled.

ochlophobist said...

Mr. Lichens,

Was that Roman or Ambrosian Rite?

editorOrthodoxNorthwest said...

I second the Joyous Lent to all "Western Christians!" And for the rest of us Happy Maslenitsa!

M. Jordan Lichens said...

Mr White,

It was a Roman Rite and it was at an evening service at Santi Quattro Coronati. I was rather surprised by how that aspect of the mass was undertaken. I'm not at all sure when the tradition was changed, but I'd be curious to know all the same.

Rubricarius said...

Ochlophobist,

The Caeremoniale - broadly equivalent to the Typicon - instructs that the Ashes be imposed on the head of penitents who bow before the bishop to receive them - so would not be imposed in their foreheads. A friend of mine Subdeacon Michael (Astley) wrote an interesting post about this issue on his blog a couple of years ago. The practice of imposing on the forehead does not seem universal for the Roman rite either geographically or over time. My suspicion is that imposition on the forehead is a combination of liturgical minimalism and convenience.

ochlophobist said...

Rubricarius,

Thanks for that. By the by, are you Western Rite Orthodox?