Benedictine Abbot
of St. Denis, Paris


Suger Prostrates Before Christ
St. Denis, Paris


Ch. 27 on the Gilded Bronze Doors
PL 1229A

[tr. based in part on Panofsky, Abbot Suger, pp. 46-47


IF, whoever you may be, you seek

to extol the honor of these doors],

Do not marvel at the gold or expense

but rather at the craftsmanship of the work.

Portarum quisquis attollere

      quaeris honorem,

Aurum nec sumptus,

     operis mirare laborem.  

Bright is the noble work;

but being nobly bright, the work 

Nobile claret opus,
    sed opus quod nobile claret, 

Should brighten the minds, so that

they may travel through the true lights, 

To the True light

where Christ is the true door.

Clarificet mentes ut eant
    per lumina vera

Ad verum lumen,

     ubi Christus janua vera.  

In what manner it is inherent
[in this world]

the golden door defines:

Quale sit intus

   in his
      determinat aurea porta

The dull mind, through material things,

rises to truth

And, from its former submission

by seeing the light, is resurrected

Mens hebes ad verum

    per materialia surgit,  

Et demersa prius

    hac visa luce resurgit.

[tr. based in part on Panofsky, Abbot Suger, pp. 46-47

Ch 32, on the golden crucifix


THUS when the loveliness of the many colored gems has called me away from external cares and worthy meditation has induced me to reflect, transferring that which is material to that which is immaterial, on the diversity of the sacred virtues: Unde cum ex dilectione decoris domus Dei aliquando multicolor gemmarum speciositas ab exintrinsecis me curis devocaret, sanctarum etiam diversitatem virtutum
then it seems to me that I see myself dwelling, as it were, in some strange region of the universe which neither exists entirely in the slime of the earth nor entirely in the purity of heaven; and that, by the grace of God, I can be transported from this inferior to a higher world in an anagogical manner. [Ibid. Panofsky pp. 62-65.]

de materialibus ad  [1234A] immaterialia transferendo, honesta meditatio insistere persuaderet; videor videre me quasi sub aliqua extranea orbis terrarum plaga, quae nec tota sit in terrarum faece, nec tota in coeli puritate demorari, ab hac etiam inferiori ad illam superiorem anagogico more Deo donante posse transferri



Ch. 25-26 On the Use of Beautiful Objects in Worship
PL 86.1234
  [tr. based on Leclercq, The Love of Learning and The Desire for God (Fordham, 1961) pp. 307-308)]

 Chalice of Suger


AS for me, I confess that I took great pleasure in devoting all the costliest and most precious things I could find to the service of the administration of the Most Holy Eucharist. If, to fulfill an order from God manifested through the mouth of the Prophets, golden chalices, vases and cups were used to receive the blood of goats, calves and the red cow of the expiation, (Num. 19:2) how much greater is our obligation to use, in order to receive the blood of Jesus Christ, in perpetual service and with the utmost devotion, vases of gold, gems and everything that is considered most precious.

Mihi fateor hoc potissimum placuisse, ut quaecunque cariora, quaecunque carissima, sacrosanctae Eucharistiae administrationi super omnia [Col.1234C] deservire debeant. Si libatoria aurea, si fialae aureae, et si mortariola aurea ad collectam sanguinis hircorum aut vitulorum, aut vaccae rufae, ore Dei aut prophetae jussu deserviebant: quanto magis ad susceptionem sanguinis Jesu Christi vasa aurea, lapides pretiosi, quaeque inter omnes creaturas carissima continuo famulatu, plena devotione exponi debent.


SURELY neither we nor our worldly goods can suffice to serve such great mysteries. Even if, in a new creation, our substance were changed into that of Seraphim and Cherubim, it would still be unworthy to serve the ineffable Host.

Certe nec nos nec nostra his deservire sufficimus. Si de sanctorum cherubim et seraphim substantia nova creatione nostra mutaretur, insufficientem tamen et indignum tantae et tam ineffabili hostiae exhiberet famulatum. T


WE can however offer propitiation for our sins. Some, no doubt, would, in contradiction, tell us that all that is necessary is to bring to the cult a pure heart, a holy soul and  true intentions; we also think that these conditions are a prime necessity and have a very special importance. But we likewise affirm that the ornamentation of the sacred vessels used for the Holy Sacrifice should possess an outer magnificence which, so far as is possible, equals our inner purity.

antam tamen propitiationem pro peccatis nostris habemus. Opponunt etiam qui derogant, deferre sufficere huic administrationi [Col.1234D] mentem sanctam, animum purum, intentionem fidelem. Et nos quidem haec interesse praecipue, proprie, specialiter approbamus. In exterioribus etiam sacrorum vasorum ornamentis, nulli omnino aeque ut sancti sacrificii servitio, in omni puritate interiori, in omni nobilitate exteriori, debere famulari, profitemur.


WE must serve in every way and with the utmost circumspection our Redeemer, Him from whom we receive everything without exception and who has united His nature with ours in a Person who, placing us at His right hand, has promised us that we should truly possess His kingdom, Our Lord who lives and reigns world without end.

In omnibus enim universaliter decentissime nos oportet deservire Redemptori nostro, qui in omnibus universaliter, absque exceptione aliqua nobis providere non recusavit, qui naturae suae nostram sub uno et admirabili individuo univit, qui nos in parte dexterae suae locans, regnum suum veraciter possidere promisit, Dominus noster qui vivit et regnat per omnia saecula saeculorum.



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