Feast of the Holy Innocents

There was an unexpected surprise this morning for Church. Pastor had on his red stole and the red altar hangings were out.  Today was the festival of the The Holy Innocents, Martyrs. Sadly, that red set is another ancient Ecclesiastical Vestment Set that needs replacing.

The vestment set has two identical pieces worked in a red silk noil fabric, with a descending dove on both altar hanging and pulpit fall. Both are faded, and not the correct proportions for use in the sanctuary.  Both are the “one set fits all needs” Pentecost Red color.  We do not have a separate altar hanging set in a martyr red, which is a deeper color.

After the initial reaction of once again seeing the red vestment set out and hanging, it’s time for a deep breath and a prayer for time and opportunity to complete these much-needed replacement sets. Thankfully the saving grace at Christmas time is the red poinsettia plants, as they help camouflage the hangings which need replacing.

Despite the issue with the vestments, the service today was very special.  Unless the date actually falls on a Sunday, this festival of The Holy Innocents is often passed by in the Lutheran Church.  So it is a rare and special time to celebrate this festival Sunday.

Some day I hope to create a martyr red vestment set, but until that time, a Pentecost set will have to suffice for both uses.  The long-term goal will be three red sets of vestments, but it will take a while to get those done.  The third red vestment set is the Reformation Set.  The hold up is always the time it takes for the hand embroidery.  Perhaps a few sets will have to be made, and have the embroidery added later…………..

While the plans for future vestment sets continue to tumble around, I hope you might enjoy some beautiful artwork depicting The Holy Innocents and the Flight to Egypt.

HE Qi The Flight Into Egypt
He Qi The Flight Into Egypt

The above artwork was the bulletin cover for this morning.  In doing some research on the artist, I came across  Mother Hildegard’s blog. For those who are art lovers, and perhaps as a source of inspiration for a future project, take a moment and glance through some of the artwork on her blog Island Life in a Monastery.  The artwork tends to be more in the “modern” art style, but there are some lovely pieces. The paintings on her Christmas  posts are quite nice as well.

I hope your Festival Sunday was a pleasant one.

Solo Dei Gloria

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  1. I love the artwork of He Qi. I think it would be wonderful to translate one of his designs to a wall hanging, or altar frontal, with his permission, of course.

    I think it is wonderful that your church celebrated Holy Innocents on Sunday. We remained in Christmas white, and followed the lectionary readings.

    Isn’t martyr red also used for Palm/Passion Sunday? The palm is used in iconography to indicate a martyred saint. I can easily see a red set with palms that could be used for both.

    • Yes, I really like He Qi’s work as well. I think he might also have some of his work done in embroidery in China. I have to check, but I visited a church last summer and saw a piece of embroidery. The curator of the church’s art gallery told the story of how the artist returns to China and oversees the embroidery. They can only work on the embroidery of his artwork when he is in China…..Now I’ll have to get back to the church to learn more and to see if the embroidery was He Qi’s.

      We returned to White for the celebration Evening Prayer on New Year’s Eve at our church after celebrating Holy Innocents.

      My church uses the martyr red on Palm Sunday as well as on Maundy Thursday. But I believe I have seen several variations depending on which color rite is being followed. I will try to pull some of those charts and post on those in the coming weeks as we head into that season of the church year.

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