Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/254

This page needs to be proofread.




he thoroughly organized the course of studies with a view of sending forth capable missionaries to work in their native country. He got the college affiliated formally to the University of Paris, and, in 1626, got the approbation of the Archbishop of Paris for the rules he had drawn up for the government of the Irish seminary. In 162-1 he pulilished, at Paris, his famous work on Irish saints, "Florilegium Insula;Sanctorum", containing also an interesting treatise on St. Patrick's Purgatory, in Lough Derg. In the same year he was appointed by the Holy See to the Deanery of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, in succession to Henry Byrne, but this position was merely honorary, inas- much as all the temporalities were enjoyed by the Protestant dean, by patent from the Crown. Mes- singham had a lengthy correspondence with Father Luke Wadding, O.F.M., and was frequently consulted by the Roman authorities in the matter of select- ing suitable ecclesiastics to fill the vacant Irish sees. On 15 July, 1630, he wrote to Wadding that he feared it was in vain to hope for any indulgences in religious disabilities from King Charles I. Between the years 1632 and 1638 he laboured for the Irish Church in vari- ous capacities, but his name disappears after the latter year, whence we may conclude that he either resigned or died in 1638.

JouRD.uN, Histoire de Wniversitc de Paris (Paris, 1866); BoTLE, The Irish College in Paris (London, 1901); Report on Franciscan Manuscripts, Hist. MSS. Com. (Dublin, 1905).

W. H. Grattan-Flood.

Messmer, Sebastian Gerakd. See Milwaukee, Archdiocese of.

Metal-Work in the Service of the Church. — From the earliest days the Church has employed utensils and vessels of metal in its liturgical cere- monies. This practice increased during the Middle Ages. The history of the metal-work of the Church in the Middle Ages is in fact the history of the art of metal-working in general, and this not only because the Church was the foremost patron of such works and because almost all the works that have been preserved from the Middle Ages are ecclesiastical in character, but also because until the twelfth century the works of the goldsmith were also almost exclusively manu- factureii by monks and clerics. But in the period of Renaissance also the manufacture of church metal- work formed a very important branch of the gold- smith's art., and even in our own day these works are counted among those in the production of which that art can be most profitably developed ; but not only the goldsmith's art, that is the artistic treatment of the precious metals, had its growth and development in the service of the Church, the base metals also, es- pecially iron, bronze, and brass, have been largely utilized. As we are dealing, however, with the histor- ical development of the metal-work in the service of the Church, we shall confine ourselves more partic- ularly to works in the precious metals, without how- ever entirely excluding those in the inferior metals from our consideration.

Antiquity. — Beginning with antiquity, we must first prove that the Church did in fact make use of valuable works of metal in the most ancient times. Honorius of Autun (d. 1145) makes the remark that the Apostles antl their followers had employed wooden chalices in the celebration of the holy Mass, but that Pope Zephyrinus had ordered the use of glass and Pope L'rban I of silver and gold vessels (Gemma aninue, P. L., CLXXII, 573). This opinion seems to have been widely disseminated during the Middle Ages; it is nevertheless untenable. Recourse to chal- ices made of wood or some other cheap material was undoubtedly often made necessary in antiquity as the result of a lack of the more valuable materials or during the stormy times of the persecutions, but this custom cannot have been general. If the earliest

Christians believed in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and of this there can be no doubt, they assuredly also made offering of their most precious vessels in order that the Sacred Mysteries might be worthily celebrated.

The earliest positive notices of the use of metal-work in the service of the Church date from the third and fourth centuries. It is especially the " Liber pontiii- calis", which is now accessible in the critical editions of Duchesne and Mommsen (see Liber Pontificalis), from which we derive the most interesting information concerning the subject under discussion. Here we first meet with the statement that Pope LIrban had the sacred vessels made of silver, which does not by any means imply that before that time they were all made of glass. Of greater importance are the accounts of the magnificent donations of valuable works in metal made by Emperor Constant ine to the Roman basili- cas. It would take up too much space to enumerate them all, and we shall content ourselves with mention- ing a few examples. To the Vatican basilica he pre- sented seven large chalices (sci/phi) of the purest gold, each of which weighed ten (Roman) pounds; further- more forty smaller chalices of pure gold, each weigh- ing one pound. The church of St. Agnes received a chalice of solid gold weighing ten pounds, five silver chalices of ten pounds each, and two silver patens of thirty poimds each. The metal plates for the Eucharistic bread (patens) are often mentioned in connexion with the chalices; thus the Lateran basil- ica received seven gold and sixteen silver patens of thirty pounds each. Though not to the same ex- tent, the other churches also were in possession of valuable metal-work for the liturgical service. The Church of Carthage, according to the testimony of Optatus, possessed so many valuables of gold and silver, that it was no easy matter to remove or hide them at the time of the persecutions (Contra Pamien., I, xviii). Ibas, Bishop of Edessa, was accused at the Council of Chalcedon (451) of having purloined a valuable chalice set with precious stones, which a pious man had presented to the church.

As to the various kinds of metal-work used in the Church, the "Liber pontificalis" mentions the follow- ing in addition to chalice and paten as in use in the lifet inie of Pope Sylvester: a silver bowl of ten pounds, which was intended for the reception of the chrism at baptisms and confirmations, a silver baptismal vessel of twenty pounds, a golden lamb weighing thirty pounds, which was set up in the baptistery beside the Lateran, seven silver stags that spouted water, each of which weighed eighty pounds, and especially nu- merous vessels for wine, e. g., in the Vatican basilica two specimens of the purest gold, each of a weight of fifty pounds. Of importance to us also is the state- ment that beside the golden lamb just mentioned there stood silver statues, five feet in height, of the Redeemer and St. John, weighing ISO and 125 pounds respectively. Furthermore mention must be made of the metal caskets, crosses, reliquaries, and book- covers, which were likewise made either entirelyorin part of precious metal. With this enumeration the number of metallic utensils employed in Christian antiquity is by no means complete. The centre of Christian worship is the sacrifice and the altar; for this reason it was early made of valuable material or at least covered with it. Metal plates were further- more used to adorn the confession (q. v.) and the im- mediate surroundings of the altar, (jreat wealth of the precious metals was spent upon the superstructure of the altar, or ciborium, which was decorated with metal statues, with chalices and votive crowns. When Leo III had the ciborium, presented by the Emperor Constantine, restored, he employed for that purpose 2704i pounds of silver. A large amount of metal was also used for the iconostasis, a screen connect ing from two to six columns; thus Leo III had the iconostasis in