Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Speaking of Saint James, how cool is this? As a sacristan, this thing just really gets my liturgical geekyness going! At Santiago de Compostela in Spain, at the basilica where Saint James' relics are, they have a huge thurible (botafumeiro) that they swing across the enitre sanctuary! It takes about ten men to hang on to the rope to swing it. "Shovels are used to fill the Botafumeiro."

"One tradition has it that the use of a swinging censer in the Santiago de Compostela Cathedral began in the 11th century. Arriving pilgrims were tired and unwashed. They were also crowded together. Dispersing incense smoke inside the church under these conditions was probably a reasonable approach to combat the body smells of the accumulated masses."

So what's it like in action? Check this out, they really get this thing swinging!

Wow! They are probably getting this ready as I am writing this.

EDIT - I can't get over this, I keep watching the video. That would be something to see live.

Here's a broader view of it:

EDIT 2 - Matt's post over at Absolutely No Spin reminded me I should have used the term "ginormous" to describe the thurible.



Suzanne from Okla. said...

I just saw this on EWTN a few days ago. It was so fascinating that I DVRd it for my husband to see. It was really interested to watch and just a little bit scary, too!

Roman Sacristan said...

Yes, if you look at the wikipedia link I have on the word "botafumeiro," it has a list of a few of the accidents that have happend over the centuries.

Thom said...

That has to be one of the coolest things that I have ever seen!

I've unabashedly stolen it, with proper gratitude, of course.

(Not the giant thurible, but the video).