A side altar at the Convento do Espirito Santo, Vila da Feira, Portugal; photo by Robert Chester Smith.
This fresco depicting “the life of the genuine monk” is especially found in older Orthodox monasteries. Although this fresco depicts “the steadfast monk – the Christ’ follower,” we should also affirm that it represents “the one true Christian” who regardless of his social status, is a follower of Christ through his actions.
The genuine monastic is he who dies for the world to take on a permanent battle with his passions and his thoughts until his last breath. Ordinary Christian, married or not, has the same duty, to die to the world and start the same battle towards passions until the end.
Since the path to Christ’ Kingdom is narrow and rough, it is clear that the Christian whether be a monk or a layman, faces similar difficulties. St. John Chrysostom referring to the great labor toward salvation of both monastics and laymen alike, said: “The only difference between a layman and a monk is that the first is married and the other is not.”
Ahhh so that’s what it means! When I first saw this fresco I assumed it was about a monk being martyred. What utterly profound symbolism!
Choir of the Real Monasterio de Santo Tomas, with its splendid altar and reredos painted by Pedro Berruguete in Avila, Spain. Also visible is the tomb of Juan, Prince of the Asturias, and only son of Isabela I and Ferdinand II, by Domenico Fancelli.
Detail of the exquisite carving on a choir seat, featuring the Augustinian coat of arms, from the choir of the San Agustin church in Intramuros, Manila. Founded in 1571, it is the oldest stone church in the Philippines, and the most venerable; it is also the last remnant of the eight great churches of Old Manila, which were utterly destroyed in the Second World War.
High Altar of the Monastery Church of Saints Catherine and Barbara, Halberstadt, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany
Crucifixion set of Kloster Roggenburg, a Presmonstatensian (Norbertine) abbey in Neu-Ulm, Bavaria, Germany. Originally founded in 1126, it was closed in 1802, only to be “rejuvenated” in 1986. The Crucifix is flanked by images of the Mater Dolorosa and St. John.
Sistine Chapel Ceiling Celebrates 500 Years
On 31 October Pope Benedict XVI marks the 500th anniversary of the completion of the Sistine Chapel frescoes by renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti. The pontiff will hold a vespers prayer service in the chapel, repeating the ceremony presided over on 31 October 1512 by Pope Julius II, who commissioned Michelangelo to paint the 1,100sqm vault. [via]