Exhibition to Honour St. Willibrord
From Our Own Correspondent
The great Exhibition of Early Medieval Art in connection with the twelfth centenary of the death of St. Willibrord was opened in Utrecht last week.
Dr. H. Colijn, the Prime Minister, performed the opening ceremony. In preparing such an exhibition, said Dr. Colijn, our thoughts travel over more than twelve centuries. We go back to the end of the seventh and the beginning of the eighth century, when Christianity was still undivided, and therefore, with joy he could say it, Catholic and Protestant compatriots had worked in harmony together to create I he Willibrord exhibition.
Here we reached back to the time when the seed was sown from which the whole of the national culture had sprung.
Some of Dr. Colijn's thoughts had been anticipated by Professor Willibrord Lampen, O.F.M., of Nijmegen University, who spoke on the parts of the exhibition which have a direct bearing on the memory of Sr. Willibrord.
MUSICAL "FIND" After the speeches a remarkable '. find" by Dr. Cecilianus Huigens, O.F.M,. the Director of the Church Music School at Utrecht, an ancient setting of the Magnificat Antiphon for the Feast of St. Willibrord, Dam Praesulis ulmi Willibrordi, was sung, as also the Magnificat itself, by the students at this school.
Dr. Huigens had found the setting, a strictly Gregorian but beautifully melodic one, ir. a manuscript formerly belonging to the Chapter of the Church of Our Lady at Utrecht. Other musical items were a Handel Concerto played on the organ of the ancient Minster, in the buildings of which the exhibition is being held, and a programme of Carillon music played by the Municipal Carillonist.
Among the guests were the Archbishop of Utrecht, Mgr. J. de Jong, the Archbishop of the " Old Catholic " Church of Utrecht, representatives of the Utrecht University and other scholastic institutions, and many leading clergy and laity.
IRISH EXHIBITS Some difficulties were experienced in making the collections as complete as was desired.
Most of the Scandinavian authorities refused, owing to the unsettled political condition of Europe, to allow any of the many treasures they possess to leave the museums where they are preserved.
English exhibits also were reduced to a comparatively small number by the fact that many were already being shown at the " Exhibition of English Art before 1500 " in the Burlington Fine Arts Club in connection with the International Congress of Historical Art.
To balance these disappointments it was possible to make a special section of 31 exhibits of Irish Art, no fewer than 22 of which came from the Royal Irish Academy Collection. These, the compilers of the catalogue point out, come from a period when Irish and AngloSaxon culture was exercising a very great influence in Western Europe. Among them is the famous Shrine of Lough Erne, which dates back to the youth of St. Willibrord, and the Processional Cross of Clogher, which belonged to the period five centuries later.
RELICS There are 13 relics of the saint, including remains of his body and small fragments of his clothing and his vestments, besides the Martyrology of St. Jerome with a " Calendarium " of St. Willibrord in his own handwriting, and a relic (part of the cranium) of St. Oswald.
The exhibition will remain open until September 15.