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Carolyn Dreyer's PhD research title: Christian clerical formation as negation of the British secular  

Competition entry title: Dominus illuminatio mea

Anglo-Catholics seek divine revelation. They strive to meet God through adherence to dogma and ritual practices that attach them to the transcendent Catholic (‘universal’) Church, which mediates divine presence. Anglo-Catholicism is typified by extravagant and highly performative liturgy. I offer two photographs of Anglo-Catholic liturgy, but deliberately present examples that occlude the standard markers of ‘high church’ ritualism. What stands out in these photographs is not the human actor but the light at which he gazes. Anglo-Catholicism is a traditionalist movement within the Church of England that began in 19th-century Oxford, within the university. Oxford remains at the heart Anglo-Catholicism, as adherents seek to reform both the Church and the academy. The motto of the university is ‘Dominus illuminatio mea,’ from psalm 27: ‘The Lord is my light’ (the title of the first photograph; the second title is from verse 8). For Anglo-Catholics, liturgy’s sole purpose is submission to, and glorification of God. Scholarship, in turn, is only meaningful when its focus is the pursuit of revelation – to see the face of God. Rather than present Anglo-Catholics as they appear, I present them as they aspire to be: solely focused on, even overcome by, the pursuit of divine light.


The Lord is my light

The first mass of Easter begins shortly before midnight. A young priest carries the Pascal Candle and uses the ‘light of Christ’ to illuminate the pitch-black chapel, an action that signifies Christ’s triumph over death and darkness.


Thy face, Lord, will I seek

The priest demonstrates reverence by kneeling before the altar and blessing it with incense. On the altar stands the Blessed Sacrament: ‘bread’ from a recent mass that has been consecrated, and now conveys Christ’s presence to those who gaze upon it. The ‘light of Christ’ is here present in the candlelight reflecting off the gold monstrance, the sunburst-shaped frame which bears the Sacrament.