Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

The Maniturgium

September 21st, 2009, Promulgated by Choir

The trailer below is from the 1963 movie “The Cardinal”.

Take note at :10 and more clearly at :29, the server on the left side of the screen. See how his hands are folded. Very typically Roman way for a server to hold his hands during church ceremonies.

Notice the Bishop is wearing a “precious” mitre as he begins the Prayers at the Foot of the Altar. Later switches to a plain gold mitre when he confers the Sacrament of Holy Orders. This mitre is called an auriphrygiata. In attendance are the deacon, subdeacon and archpriest, along with the bishop’s retinue of attendants.

At 1:36, on the far left of the screen you’ll notice the precious mitre being held by the “mitre bearer”. He is wearing a vimpa on his shoulders. This is starting to make a comeback, but not in Rochester.

At 1:37, you’ll hear the ordinandi say the Latin word “adsum”. This means “I am present”. You say this when your name is called, in Latin, of course. This is a short, but beautiful part of the “Litany of the Saints” when the ordinandi prostrate on the floor. At 2:14, you get a good shot of the “tonsure” on the back of the head.
The bishop then consecrates the ordinandi’s hands with Chrism.

At 2:40, is a very old custom at the ordination of wrapping a priest’s hand with a linen cloth called a maniturgium. This only exposed his thumbs and forefingers after his palms were anointed. Then the Bishop had the priest touch the chalice and paten with his four fingers. This symbolized the importance of what was called the ‘canonical digits,’ i.e., the two fingers on each hand a priest needed to celebrate Mass. These were the digits that the Iroquois Indians savagely cut off of St. Issac Jogues hands. The Indians knew he needed these fingers to celebrate Mass. The Pope Urban VIII gave permission for Issac Jogues to use his other fingers on his mutilated hands.

The maniturgium is given to a priest’s mother at the first Mass on the day after his ordination. She is suppose to be buried with it. This is making a comeback too.

This part of the movie was filmed at the Cistercian Casamari Abbey in Frosinine, in Lazio province. The vestments are commonly referred to as “fiddlebacks” or “Roman” as opposed to the fuller cut Gothic vestments. The ordinandi wear their chasuables folded until they are ordained.



2 Responses to “The Maniturgium”

  1. Mary Kay says:

    Choir Loft, perfect timing! I just borrowed this movie from the library. Thanks for the explanation.

  2. Mary Kay – When you get to the point in the movie that they are in the chapel of nunciature and the Nazi are running through the place, notice what Cardinal Innitzer does with the ablutions cup on the altar after they receive HOly Communion.

    I had to watch the movie at least 3 times to get many things that I didn't see the first time around. I still find new things. Who ever researched the ritual parts did an excellent job.

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