Mitre-Lights

Something is puzzling me. There seems to be a new trend in hierarchical vesture simmering in the Russian Orthodox Church. From there, who knows where it will spread? Perhaps it is to do with the bishop's role of rightly diving the word of truth, and bringing the light of the Gospel to the people, but it seems that the new thing is for bishops to wear mitres that have a chandelier affixed to the top, like a sort of ecclesiastical helmet-lamp.

I have encountered photographs of two bishops wearing such mitres within the last week alone. The first was on the recent visit of Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk to Serbia.


At first, I thought that this was just a fluke and that the good bishop had done it as a teaching aid or some such thing. Having consoled myself with the thought that this was simply a one-off, I went about my usual business of looking at liturgical photographs and talking to the cat, when I stumbled upon this:


It would appear that, having seen and liked Metropolitan Hilarion's mitre, Archbishop Kyrill of San Francisco ran out and bought one just like it.

So are we likely to see more of this sort of thing? Where does it come from? And how are they powered? I have an image in my mind of a hamster running around in a wheel inside the mitre itself, which generates the electricty to power the bulbs, but I'm sure this can't be right, for they would never be allowed in the altar.

Has anybody else encountered these? If so, are you able to shed any light (cue: audible groan) on this for me?

Thank you so much in anticipation of your help.

4 responses:

Jon Marc said...

I really oughtn't encourage this sort of thing, but you make me smile :-).

And I believe these came into fashion around the same time as the lit-up "Христос Воскресе" iconostas signs...

Nina said...

I have been reading your blog for a while and think it is just great...and at first I thought you were serious about what you were writing, but could not understand the photos....once I got it (duh!) I just laughed aloud....nice!

Max. said...

You have some kind of knack for finding these kinds of liturgical oddities.

I still can't get the World's Largest chalice. My friend swears it wasn't that big when he consecrated it!

Michael said...

Jonathan Marc, in the short time we have been corresponding, when have you known me to need any sort of encouragement? :-p

Thank you for your historical insight into this development. I wonder whether they come with different flash settings like fairy lights.

Nina, welcome! :-) Thank you for your kind words. I'm glad to have been able to both perplex and amuse you in a single effort. I now have a certain sense of accomplishment.

I don't know what it is, Max. Most people tend not to see these things unless they have them pointed out, while they're almost invariably the first thing I notice. It often means that, when I get fits of the giggles at inopportune moments, when most people could take comfort in the knowledge that others, while perhaps exercising better self-control, are fully aware of what's causing the laughter, I often have no such consolation and simply have to suppress it as best I can. Fortunately, Fr Paul and I are often on the same wavelength.

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