Reading Bishop Mark’s blog this morning and thinking of dear Fr Kevin in preparation for his installation as Bishop of Argyll and The Isles on Friday made me think of mitres. Bishop Mark mentions that he allowed some children to try on his regalia. I remember when I was a curate at St Ninian’s cathedral in Perth, showing some primary children round the cathedral. I had them dressed up in chasubles and stoles and was explaining what we wore and why.
Now, the diocese of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane has a very fine bishop’s mitre in the safe (not this pic but very similar). It is very heavy because it is absolutely encrusted with precious stones. It was made for a certain Bishop, whose name escapes me for the moment, who was much beloved and all the ladies of Perthshire handed in their unwanted jewellery for his new mitre. It lies in a tin box (mitre-shaped) with a piece of paper that explains ‘5 Tay Pearls from Lady Dowager so-and-so’, ‘2 Amethysts from Lady so-and-so’, etc. It really is a work of art.
I thought the children would love to see this and had brought it out for them to ooh and ahh over. “Who wants to try it on?” I cried. Hands shot up all over the place. “NO!” screamed the teacher. I assured her it was okay really, and I wouldn’t tell. “NO!” she screamed again. I assured her I would hold on to it while they tried it on. “NO!” again. The she took me aside and spelled out the problem…
N… I… T… S.