Sacred Vessels for St. Gregory the Great

Stoneham, MA

Completed: 2013


This sacred vessel set was commissioned by St. Gregory the Great, a Catholic Church in Stoneham, MA, in 2014. This Catholic Community of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter was in need of a chalice and paten that represented not only the history of their name-sake, but the real communion of the church body. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was an effort by Pope John Paul II to invite Anglicans to participate in coming back to the Catholic Church while keeping their own liturgical traditions. With this in mind, the commission committee was seeking a larger set of historically based sacred vessels. Based on the committee’s design cues, influences were drawn from the Ardagh Chalice dating from 900 AD and the Derrynaflan Chalice from the 8th-9th century. The paten is inspired by an 8th century paten held in the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. St. Gregory the Great was included in the design, with inspiration drawn from an image in the 8th century Saint Petersburg Bede, one of the earliest depictions of St. Gregory. The final chalice stands 7" high with a diameter of 6" and a base of 5". The paten fits on top of the chalice and is 9.5" in total diameter. The chalice is made of 8 hand-raised and forged pieces, while the paten is raised and folded from one solid sheet. The chalice has three medallions, St. Gregory, Jesus (8th century depiction) and an early rendition of the Chi-ro, affixed to the base. Along the top and the underside of the chalice lies a ribbon with hand-engraved inscriptions. The paten has the same Chi-ro as the medallion engraved on the face. On the back of the paten is a 210-word engraved dedication that circumscribes the piece. The entire set is solid Sterling Silver, with the chalice bowl plated in 24kt gold. It was hand-raised from 4 square feet of sterling silver using classic silversmith and jewelry-making techniques. The design to finished product took nearly 6 months to create. My 12+ years of experience in metalsmithing and knowledge of sacred art history were helpful in the execution. The most challenging part of the process was creating/designing a functional liturgical piece while combining the 8th century influence with a slightly contemporary form.

Project Team:

Vincent Hawley