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Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/459

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MITRE


405


MITRE


18 possessed, for example, by numerous abbots, the dignitaries of many cathedral chapters, and by certain prelates of the papal Curia, but, as a rule, the right is more or less limited: for instance, such prelates can only use a simple mitre of white linen, unless the con- trary is expressly granted them. The mitre is dis- tinguished from the other episcopal vestments in that it is always laid aside when the bishop prays; for ex- ample, at the orationes of the Mass, of the Office, in conferring Holy Orders, at the Canon of the Mass, etc. The reason for this is to be found in the commandment of the Apostle that a man should pray with uncovered head (I Cor., xi, 4). The giving of the mitre is a ceremony in the consecration of a bishop. It occurs at the close of the Mass after the solemn final blessing, the consecrator having first blessed the mitre.

A nttquity. — From the seventeenth century much has been written concerning the length of time the mitre has been worn. According to one opinion its use ex- tends back into the age of the Apostles ; according to another, at least as far back as the eighth or ninth cen- tury, while a further view holds that it did not appear until the beginning of the second millennium, but that before this there was an episcopal ornament for the head, in form like a wreath or crown. In opposition to these and similar opinions, which cannot all be dis- cu.ssed here, it is, however, to be held as certain that an episcopal ornament for the head in the shape of a fillet never existed in Western Europe, that the mitre was first used at Rome aljout the middle of the tenth century, and outside of Rome about the year 1000. Exhaustive proof for this is given in the work (men- tioned in bibliography below), "Die liturgische Ge- wandung im Occident und Orient " (pp. 431-48), where all that has been brought forward to prove the high antiquity of the mitre is exhaustively discussed and refuted. The mitre is depicted for the first time in two miniatures of the beginning of the eleventh century ; the one is in a baptismal register, the other in an Exultet-roll of the cathedral at Bari, Italy. The first written mention of it is found in a Bull of Leo IX of the year 1041). In this the pojje, who had formerly been Bishop of Toul, Franco, confirmed the primacy of the Church of Trier to Bishop Eljerhard of Trier, his former metropolitan, who had accompanied him to Rome. As a sign of this primacy, Leo granted Bishop Eberhard the Roman mitre, in order that he might use


it according to Roman custom in performing the offices of the Church. By about 1 100-50 the custom of wear- ing the mitre was general among bishops.

Origin. — The pontifical mitre is of Roman origin: it is derived from a non-liturgical head-covering dis- tinctive of the pope, the camelaucum, to which also the tiara is to be traced. The camelaucum was worn as early as the Ijeginning of the eighth century, a-s is shown by the biography of Pope Constantine I (708- 815) in the "Liber Pontificalis". The .same head- covering is also mentioned in the so-called " Donation of Constantine". The Ninth Ordo states that the camelaucum was made of white stuff and shaped like a helmet. The coins of Sergius III (904-11) and of Benedict VII (974-83), on which St. Peter is por- trayed wearing a camelaucum, give the cap the form


of a cone, the original shape of the mitre. The came- laucum was worn by t he pope principally during solemn processions. The mitre developed from the camelau- cum in this way: in the course of the tenth century the pope began to wear this head-covering not merely during processions to the church, but also during the subsequent church service. Whether any influence was exerted by the recollection of the sacerdotal head- ornament of the high-priest of the Old Testament is not known, but probably not — at least there is no trace of any such influence. It was not until the mitre was universally worn by bishops that it was called an imitation of the Jewish sacerdotal head- omament.

Granting of the Mitre to Dignitaries other than Bishops. — The Roman cardinals certainly had already the right to wear the mitre towards the end of the eleventh century. Probably they possessed the priv- ilege as early as in the first half of the century. For if Leo IX granted the privilege to the cardinals of the cathedral of Be Sanson (see Cahdinal: I. Car- dinal Priests) in 1051, the Roman cardinals surely had it before that date. The first authentic grant- ing of the mitre to an abbot dates from the year 1063, when Alex- anderll conferred the mitre upon Abbot Egelsinus of the Abbey of St. Augustine at Canterbury. From this time on instances of the granting of the mitre to abbots constantly increased in number. At times also secular princes were granted permission to wear the mitre as a mark of distinction ; for example, Duke Wratislaw of Bohemia received this privilege from Pope Alexander II, and Peter of Aragon from Innocent III. The right also belonged to the German emperor.

Development of the Shape. — As regards shape, there is such difference between the mitre of the eleventh century and that of the twentieth that it is difficult to recognize the same ornamental head-covering in the two. In its earliest form the mitre was a simple cap of soft material, which ended above in a point, while aromid the lower edge there was generally, although not always, an ornamental band (circulus). It would also seem that lai5pets were not always at- tached to the back of the mitre. Towards 1100 the mitre began to have a curved shape above and to grow into a round cap. In many cases there soon appeared a depression in the upper part similar to the one which is made when a soft felt hat is pressed down on the head from the forehead to the back of the head. In handsome mitres an ornamental band passed from front to back across the indentation ; this made more prominent the puffs in the upper part of the cap to the right and left sides of the head. This calotte-shaped mitre was used vmtil late in the twelfth century; in some places until the last quarter of the century. From about 1125 a mitre of another form and some- what different appearance is often found. In it the puffs on the sides had developed into horns (eornua) which ended each in a point and were stiffened with parchment or some other interlining. This mitre formed the transition to the third style of mitre which is es.sentially the one still used to-day: the third mitre