UNBORN WORD of the day


Unborn John the Baptist Bows Before Unborn Jesus, 14th Century, Timios Stavros Church, Pelendri Cyprus
December 7, 2012, 7:59 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus | Tags: , ,

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Timios Stavros Church

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Timios Stavros Church Wall Painting (Full)

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Unborn John the Baptist Bows Before Unborn Jesus   Church Wall Painting (detail)

In the central part of Cyprus, in the mountains of the Troodos range, some of the most important monuments of the history of Byzantine painting have survived. These are painted churches which have preserved to this day brilliant examples of various trends of Byzantine and post-Byzantine monumental art, from the 11th to the 19th century. The church of Timios Stavros is situated in a central area of the Troodos mountain range, at the south end of the village of Pelendri.

The original church was destroyed under unknown circumstances. Only the apse survived, which was incorporated in a new church of the same type, built at the end of the 13th or the beginning of the 14th century. The main part of the church of Timios Stavros was decorated during the second half of the 14th century. At least two artists belonging to the same workshop were involved, together with their students. Many donors contributed towards this decoration complex. From these wall-paintings we can distinguish a group which follows the Palaiologan style developed in Constantinople during the 14th century.

“God has become a child, and so he wants first to be known and adored by a child…Thus the Infant-God is recognized and manifested, not by and angel, but by a child. So his first prophet is a child, just as shortly his first martyrs will be children.” Cardinal Bérulle (1575 -1629)

“I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.” Lk.10.21



The Visitation 1310, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City
December 6, 2012, 12:31 am
Filed under: Advent, Pro-life, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

Metropolitan Museum of Art

Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City

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The Visitation This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 304

Soon after the Virgin Mary learned of her miraculous conception of Jesus, she visited her kinswoman Elizabeth, who was also expecting a child, John the Baptist. This representation of their joyous meeting comes from the Dominican convent of Katharinenthal, in the Lake Constance region of present-day Switzerland.

Carved of walnut, with the original paint and gilding almost completely preserved, the figures of Mary and Elizabeth are each inset with crystal-covered cavities through which images of their infants may originally have been seen. The representation of the Visitation incorporating images of the unborn Christ and John the Baptist, found with some frequency in contemporary works from German-speaking lands, emphasizes the moment when, according to “The Golden Legend,” Saint John, being unable “to manifest his joy with his tongue,” leapt “with joy in his mother’s womb.” The Virgin tenderly places her hand on Elizabeth’s shoulder, while her cousin raises her arm to her breast in reference to her declaration, “Who am I, that the mother of the Lord should visit me?” (Luke 1:43).

Bishop Austin Vaughn (1927-2000), formerly Auxiliary Bishop of New York, who himself was arrested a number of times for prayerfully protesting in front of abortion facilities once wrote  in an article entitled The Catholic Duty to Be Pro – Life:  “It is not an accident, I think, that in the scriptures the first person, after Mary, who adored Jesus when He came into the world was St. John the Baptist….The second person who ever worshipped Jesus, after Mary, was an unborn baby, and I think God made it that way to tell us in our day and age the worth and importance of every individual right from the very beginning of life”.



Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian 1371,Gallerie dell’Accademia Venice, Italy
December 5, 2012, 11:48 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

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Annunciation with Saints by Lorezo Venzian

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Annunciation by Lorezo Venzian (detail)

The Accademia fine Art Gallery of Venice, is one of the most important Italian museums. This painting, signed and dated in 1371, is the central panel of a polyptych. Here we can see clearly how Lorenzo Veneziano, in his mature work moved increasingly towards the musical expressiveness of colour shot through with Gothic accents.

The figure of the Virgin is sitting with her hands crossed prayerfully listening to the message of the angel. The angel is kneeling before her, his right hand raised and his wings pointing toward the sky where the Eternal Father appears, as a crowning figure releasing the dove with the unborn Christ Child.

 But the knowledge and love of our Divine Redeemer, of which we were the object from the first moment of His Incarnation, exceed all that the human intellect can hope to grasp. For hardly was He conceived in the womb of the Mother of God, when He began to enjoy the Beatific Vision, and in that vision all the members of His Mystical Body were continually and unceasingly present to Him, and He embraced them with His redeeming love.    Pope Pius XII,  Mystici Corporis (On the Mystical Body of Christ) #75.



Maria Heimsuchung (The Visitation) 1210, Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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Chapel of St. Leonard Nauders Austria

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Maria Heimsuchung – One of Three  Frescoes found in the Chapel of St. Leonard

The wall paintings in the Chapel of St. Leonard are among the most important Romanesque frescoes discoveries that have been made in North Tyrol ever. Their rediscovery goes back to 1914. Although the paintings are not completely preserved, they are among the earliest frescoes of North Tyrol and thus are important in Austria’s art history.  The latest research link these frescos to benchmark examples in South Tyrol and Graubünden and assume that the frescoes were created by 1210.

“Truly He is in haste to be about His Father’s business. Truly He is an impatient conqueror, to be thus early beginning His conquests, and laying the foundations of His world wide empire. He can not bear to be in the world for even so short a while, but sin shall feel the weight of His unborn arm…..His first mission and ministry was in the womb, and the babe unborn the first conquest of His divine apostolate…..and the Unborn Child destroys the sin and abolishes the curse of the unborn child.”   Frederick W. Faber, D.D., The Blessed Sacrament (Baltimore, MD: John Murphy Company, circa 1855), 162 163.

 



Annunciation of Ustyug 1119-1130, The Tretyakov Gallery Moscow, Russia
December 3, 2012, 10:35 pm
Filed under: Advent, Incarnation, Mother of the Lord, The Incarnation, Unborn Jesus

AROUND THE WORLD AND THROUGH THE CENTURIES WITH THE UNBORN CHRIST CHILD

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The Tretyakov Gallery

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One of the earliest images of Christ in the womb is the Annunciation of Ustyug

The Annunciation of Ustyug gained its name due to the legend that Saint Procopius of Ustyug predicted the fall of  a meteorite and other calamities near the town of Veliky Ustyug. He tried to convince the citizens to confess their sins and pray for the city to be saved. They did not believe him and only at the last minute, when the storm had already started, escaped to the church and started to pray before the icon and were saved.

The icon depicts Christ Emmanuel standing In the womb of the Virgin, giving a blessing with his right hand. On the left – the archangel Gabriel, greets the Virgin Mary and is blessing her. At the top of the center, in a blue semi-circle of the sky with gold stars the Father is portrayed with a blue halo of glory. He sits on a red throne, at the foot of which are red cherubim, and above on the sides – red and gold Seraphim. The Father holds a scroll in his left hand, and His right hand blesses Mary.

The Ustyug Annunciation in its iconography has its roots in Eastern Christian art. The point of this type of art is to explain the supernatural Conception – Incarnation of the deity. Therefore, in Russia, the Virgin with the Christ child depicted near her heart is sometimes called Our Lady of the Incarnation.

“For you must know that the sublime work of the Incarnation was the work of the whole Trinity, although it was only the Person of the Son of God who became incarnate. It was as if one who put on a tunic were helped by two standing on either side of him who held the tunic in their hands….For although the Holy Trinity is every where, nevertheless you must think of It in your meditation as being here in a very special manner, by reason of the great and unique work which is being done.”   St. Bonaventure, Meditations On The Life Of Christ, trans. Sister M. Emmanuel, O.S.B. (St. Louis, MO: B. Herder Book Co., 1934), 16.



ANOTHER ADVENT TRADITION YOU MAY NOT HAVE HEARD ABOUT – Iglesia de San Martín de Tours de Sevilla
December 2, 2012, 11:38 am
Filed under: Advent, Christmas, How are we to honor Unborn Jesus, Incarnation, Pro-life

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Our Lady of Hope, is renowned for her beauty. The image is from the second half of the 16th century but later restorations (one by Castillo Lastrucci), added to it‘s beauty and unmistakable Sevillian style. The Virgin wears a green coat with sterling silver lining, highlighting her magnificent crown. All year – except Advent – Mary holds the infant Jesus with her left hand and arm.

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Below the statue (see above photos), in front of the basket appears an oval  “O” iconographic detail of the Unborn Christ Child (reminiscent of the Advent “O” antiphons). 

During Advent, the oval with the Unborn Christ is placed upon the Virgin, in front of her womb. (The infant Jesus is taken down from Mary’s left hand during Advent and placed in an ornate casing.) See photos below.

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Then, on Christmas day the unborn Christ oval is returned to its place below the statue and the infant Jesus returned to Mary’s hand. These rituals give a unique charm to this statue and the Incarnation event.

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Iglesia de San Martín de Tours de Sevilla

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