Thurible Spotting

I visited two different priests of the Scottish Episcopal Church yesterday in their homes and each had the most extraordinary thurible hanging in their houses. [A thurible is what you use to waft incense around a church]. It turned out that each had been the thurible of the Catholic Apostolic Church, that glorious denomination dedicated to the second coming, prophetic utterances and the highest neo-gothic church buildings and trappings ever conceived. The thuribles in question were from their communities in Dundee and Edinburgh. What a strange coincidence to encounter them both o­n the same day. They were each huge heavy bowls for the coals and incense topped off with glorious metalwork in the shape of buildings. There cannot have been more than a few in Scotland like this ever, so to see two in o­ne day is very strange. They are each much loved and cared for, which I hope would give comfort to those who had o­nce commissioned them. The Catholic Apostolic Church somehow managed to achieve high gothic without high camp – something that the Oxford Movement did not necessarily always manage to avoid.
Utterly beautiful things. What a commitment to the physicality of worship. Incarnation in the metalworker's art. Heaven o­n earth.


  1. Anonymous says

    Re: Thurible Spotting
    Just a small correction – Big Aggie came from Glasgow's Catholic Apostolic Church, not Edinburgh.  But who has the Edinburgh o­ne?

  2. Anonymous says

    Re: Thurible Spotting
    Thanks for the correction Ruth – I have no idea who has the Edinburgh o­ne. Wouldn't it be wonderful to get them all together for a service? Is the Glasgow CA church building still extant? I don't even know where it was.
    There is a rather odd offshoot of the CA Church called the New Apostolic Church which exists in Scotland in Dunfermline, but they do not seem to have taken o­n the powerful aesthetic of the Catholic Apostolic church. It is wonderful that the two thuribles from Glasgow and Dundee are different – no mass production in those days.

  3. Anonymous says

    Re: Thurible Spotting
    The Catholic Apostolic Church in Glasgow was in McAslan St in Townhead. The building was apparently designed by AWN Pugin but was demolished in 1970. There’s a photograph of the interior in The City that Disappeared by Frank Worsdall

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