Emails: The ‘Easter Sepulchre’ and Other Religious Bullshit! (17.11.2021)

Tolerating Religious People Can Be Tiresome!

Dear Adrian

Many old churches contain an Easter Sepulchre, you should look out for them inside the church. It is where the sacred things would go during the Easter service commemorating the death of Jesus. They are quite beautiful and particular to the English church (though there are interesting parallels to customs in Byzantium). They ended up getting banned by the Vatican, not the Reformation!!!

Dear Gillian

Not sure if the Easter Sepulchre is incorporated into the main Altar of St Mary’s – Duddington. 

Dear Adrian

If so then it is a Victorian misinterpretation of what the middle ages are all about. The whole point of Good Friday is the commemoration of the death of Christ. Christ is present in the consecrated bread and wine. On Good Friday, any such ‘food’ can not be on the altar because Christ is not present. It gets removed to the Easter Sepulcure to await the celebration of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, when death is conquered. It is kind of central to the Christian faith…. but even some Christians forget.

Dear Gillian

Short answer: No (as in ‘nothing’ to do with Victoria, Queen or otherwise). Obviously, Duddington’s St Mary’s Church was Catholic before the Reformation and Protestant afterwards (Henry VIII) – although we can agree to ignore its one thousand-year pre-history of Saxon Church and Pagan Holy Centre (situated deep in a forest). There are small alcoves where Catholic icons once stood, etc. I was thinking more along the lines of  ecclesiastical ‘camouflage’ rather than deliberate sacrilege as the ‘fetish’ of religious paraphernalia has never particularly appealed – as therein lies the base-extremism of ‘preferred placement’ and the imagination ‘inherent meaning’ of otherwise ’empty’ and ‘inert’ physical structures, etc – and the inevitable after-birth of the decreed ‘punishment’ of those who do not share in these delusions or who do not frequent these corridors of equally imagined power. We all have our own ‘Yokos’ as a close friend once observed…

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