Category Archives: Beauty

A Roman Jewel Rediscovered

In the city of Rome there are so many artistic jewels that reveal the loving presence of the Lord. The Basilica of Santa Maria Antiqua, long buried by an earthquake, has a fresco said to be “the oldest image of the Virgin Mary with the Child Jesus, according to the architect Francesco Prosperetti, superintendent of archaeological artifacts in Rome. This is indeed Rome’s oldest icon.” See the rest at Aleteia:

http://aleteia.org/2017/05/05/the-sistine-chapel-of-the-middle-ages-is-back-in-business-photos/

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Our tainted nature’s solitary boast.

The Virgin

Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies at daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, than the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy Image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween,
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend,
As to a visible Power, in which did blend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity,
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!

~ William Wordsworth

Dormition Abbey Part 3

King David.

The Dormition Abbey .

The dome structure was built by the Muslims.

The Muslims recycled a column with a capital that depicts a pelican feeding her young with her blood which is a symbol of Christ who feeds us in the Eucharist.

Pope Saint John Paul II celebrated Mass here in 2000 and gave the sculpture as a gift that witnesses to peace.

The current structure was built during the crusade period. It was the southern gallery of the church of Saint Mary of Zion. Later it was turned into a mosque. Notice the 16th century mihrab or prayer niche facing Mecca.

The Upper Room. Although this is not the original location this is where we commemorate the Last Supper.

Agni Parthene – Oh Pure Virgin Orthodox hymn sung by Eikona – performed in Greek and English.

The Dormition of the Virgin Mary

In the center of the floor mosaics in the upper church is the symbol of the Triune God.

The eight prophets who foretold the coming of Jesus.

    

The penultimate circle has the evangelists and the signs of the zodiac.

   The circle quotes Proverbs 8:23-25.

Ab aeterno ordita sum et ex antiquis antequam terra fieret
necdum erant abyssi et ego iam concepta eram necdum fontes aquarum eruperant
necdum montes gravi mole constiterant ante colles ego parturiebar.

Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth,
when there were no springs abounding with water.
Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth.

The crypt of the Abbey. The main altar which depicts our Lady as Queen of the Apostles on Pentecost. The inscription says:

Et factus est repente de caelo sonus tamquam advenientis spiritus vehementis et replevit totam domum…

And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house…

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A life size statue of the sleeping Virgin made of rosewood and ivory.

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The mosaic shows Jesus ready to receive the Virgin Mary into heaven. Notice the six women from the Bible: Eve, Miriam, Jael, Judith, Ruth, and Esther.

The main altar.

In Praise of the Virgin Mary


“To us up here you are the torch of noon
Blazing with love, and for the mortals down there
You are the living fountainhead of hope.

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“Lady, you are so highly placed and helpful,
Whoever seeks grace and does not call on you
Wants his desires to fly up without wings.

–Dante’s Paradiso, Canto XXXIII
[Saint Bernard speaking]

The artworks are from the Bargello Museum in Florence.

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In Praise of the Virgin Mary

As we come near to the Feast of the Assumption, it seems natural to let the arts of Florence speak to each other of the beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here Dante, in his sublime Canto  XXXIII, has Saint Bernard speak of Mary. The artworks are from the Bargello Museum.

“Virgin mother, daughter of your Son,
Humbler and higher than all other creatures,
Fixed aim and goal of the eternal plan,…

“You are the one who lifted human nature
To such nobility that its own Maker
Did not disdain to be made of its making.

“Within your womb was lit once more the flame
Of that love through whose warmth this flower opened
To its full bloom in everlasting peace.”

–Dante’s Paradiso, Canto XXXIII
[Saint Bernard speaking]