Thursday, 21 April 2011

Mandy Thursday afternoon - The Mandatum

In the afternoon the Mandatum ceremony takes place. Dr. Glover never celebrated this so there are no photographs from Durham. However, the above is taken from Herbert Thurston's 'Lent and Holy Week'. The drawing shows the pope washing the feet of thirteen poor men on Mandy Thursday.

A procession to a suitable place is made with the celebrant vested in violet stole and cope assisted by a deacon in white stole, maniple and dalmatic, and subdeacon in white tunicle and maniple. The ministers make the usual reverences to the altar and the deacon lays the Evangeliarium on the mensa. All follows exactly as for the Gospel at High Mass and the same Gospel that was sung this morning is again proclaimed.

(The above photograph taken from St. Gertrude the Great's website shows Bishop Dolan vested in violet cope and golden mitre entering for the Mandatum.)

After the Gospel the celebrant removes the violet cope and puts on an apron. The ministers remove their maniples. Meanwhile thirteen men seated on benches remove their shoes and socks. Acolytes take a basin, ewer, towels and a plate bearing coins to the first man. The celebrant kneels before the man and water is poured over his right foot, held by the subdeacon. The deacon passes a towel to the celebrant (with the usual oscula) and the celebrant dries the man's foot and kisses it. He then gives the man a coin who takes it and kisses the celebrant's hand. This process is repeated for all thirteen men.

(This photograph shows Bishop Dolan carrying out the moving act of Christ kissing the foot of His disciples.)

During this the choir sings the antiphon Mandatum novum (the text giving Mandy Thursday its English name). Eight other antiphons are provided including the famous Ubi caritas. After the last man's foot is washed the celebrant and ministers return to the credence where the celebrant washes his hands and resumes the violet cope. They go to the Epistle corner and there the celebrant intones Pater noster (continued in silence), some versicles and the collect Adesto. All then return to the sacristy.

The Roman authors mention that the feet of thirteen poor men are washed and that after the service the men are given a good dinner, new clothes and some money. This admirable tradition of course continues with Our Sovereign Lady, Her Majesty The Queen, distributing the Royal Maundy Money. This Mandy Thursday Her Majesty will distribute the Maundy Money at the magnificent Collegiate Church of St. Peter, Westminster - aka Westminster Abbey. Some details of the service may be found here and here. Although HM The Queen no longer washes any feet I understand the Lord Almoner still wears an ceremonial apron as a vestigial reminder of when feet were washed. May the good Lord grant to Her Majesty and Her family a blessed Pascha!

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' the Mandatum normally takes place after the Gospel of the novel evening Mass. The feet of twelve men, not thirteen are washed but the feet are no longer kissed. The antiphon Benedicta sit sancta Trinitas is omitted. After the Washing of the feet the celebrant no longer returns to the Missal at the Epistle corner for the versicles and prayer Adesto but sings them before the altar in plano.


André said...

Unless I am mistaken, I believe for a simple priest he is dressed in white.

I'll have to double check in the Missal.

Rubricarius said...


Fortescue has the celebrant in violet. The strange thing is why have ministers in white? Violet is the colour of the day until after Vespers with white beind the exception for the Mass.

Happy Easter!