Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Elizabeth II and the Power of Words

 From Terry Mattingly:

During the private funeral of her husband, Queen Elizabeth II sat alone near the St. George's Chapel altar, socially distanced from her family and wearing a black pandemic mask. This searing portrait of grief moved viewers worldwide. And as Prince Philip's casket was lowered into the Windsor Castle vault, singers chanted the Kontakion of the Departed, a tie to his Orthodox roots in Greece.

"Give rest, O Christ, to thy servant with thy saints," they sang, "where sorrow and pain are no more; neither sighing but life everlasting. … All we go down to the dust; and weeping o'er the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia."

Only 18 months later, the same chant, which Queen Elizabeth had requested, was performed in the same chapel. This time it marked the start of the committal liturgy that closed a 10-day wave of statecraft, vigils, memorials and processions preceding her majestic state funeral. The queen's final, intimate Windsor Castle service began where her husband's had ended, as if one rite was flowing into another. (Read more.)


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