Saturday, May 25, 2013

Henricus Sixtus Rex Ora Pro Nobis! (At Kings and Eton)

Yesterday evening in the Chapel of King’s College, I attended a majestic Sung Requiem in Commemoration of the holy life and death of King Henry VI.  The musical setting was Durufle’s Requiem.  The service included a simple procession of offering roses and lilies in which Choral Scholar Sam Landman (Yes, him again I’m glad to say.) participated.

Among the highlights was congregational singing in Latin during said procession (Rex Henricus), all the parts featuring the choristers (They are sounding wonderful as usual.) and a beautiful singing of Ley’s Prayer of King Henry VI.  I’ve come to really love it and the prayer itself, which captures the humble submission and trust of Henry VI so well.  I am adopting it as my prayer.  The English translation from Latin:

O Lord Jesus Christ, who hast created and redeemed me, and hast brought me unto that which now I am; thou knowest what thou wouldest do with me; do with me according to thy will, for thy tender mercy’s sake. Amen.

A last note about the service – as I was entering the Chapel, I saw a man in cassock beside those entering who looked like Dr. Rowan Williams.  I thought, Surely not.  But I looked again, and it was him, and he looked very well and in good spirits.  He attended the service.

This past Tuesday morning I attended the morning chapel service at Eton.  Remembering King Henry with 1300 Eton students, formal uniforms and all, was definitely a new experience for me.

Morning chapel is still mandatory at Eton.  And in front of me, roll was taken at random of one of the houses.  I was told punishment for skipping chapel was severe.  I dared not enquire further.


And, yes, it is surely providential that my schedule has very naturally allowed me to attend services remembering Henry VI at both of his foundations, King’s and Eton, and where he is buried, St. George’s Chapel.  For which I give hearty thanks to God.

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