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Cope and mitre for Wales?

17 January 2020

January 16th, 1920.

ALREADY the details of the ceremonial to be used on the enthronement of the first Archbishop for Wales are being considered, and the aid of experts is to be invoked. We pity those gentlemen, if they are not allowed a free hand. They, of course, know only too well how utterly unimpressive for ceremonial purposes is the ordinary episcopal habit. It was never intended for such purpose, and what dignity it ever possessed has been most successfully shorn off by the merciless scissors of ecclesiastical tailors. The history of the chimere and rochet has been truly tragic. From the eighteenth century until living memory the sleeves of the latter were removed from their proper connexion and sewn on to the chimere. They are now restored to the rochet, but the shape of the chimere, which had been modified to suit the requirements of the balloons into which the sleeves had developed, generally remains unaltered, and looks all the more forlorn and ugly because it is seen in its naked hideousness. We cannot imagine a meaner ceremony than one in which three magpies should be seen trying to glorify a fourth magpie. The experts, we are quite sure, will prescribe cope and mitre for the officiating prelates. At the recent meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales it was agreed that the ceremonies of enthronement must be an impressive pageant on a scale of real magnificence. It may be accepted as a matter beyond dispute that the attainment of that ideal will be impossible unless there is a break clean away from a tradition which has nothing to be said in its favour on aesthetic grounds.

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