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It is singular that the symbol of the fish continued to be used in Germany up to the middle age. In the Hortus Deliciarum of the Abbess Herrad, written in the XIIth century, and still preserved in the Strasbourg Library, there is a representation of the sacrament of the altar, by means
of a small basket with a loaf and a fish. In a picture in the cathedral library at Einsiedeln, there is the symbol of a fish whose blood is represented as opening the gates of limbo.
Northern Africa, once so celebrated in the annals of the church, did not escape the research of Rossi. Léon Rénier has collected, in a work entitled Roman Inscriptions of Algeria, published at Paris, A.D. 1838, most of those documents which caused Rossi to undertake his second great work, A Letter to F. B. Pitra, Benedictine Monk, on the Christian Titles found at Carthage. These documents are very important as explaining the symbol of the cross. The Christians, for various reasons, were unwilling at first to represent the cross among their symbols. The cross was the damnata crux of Apuleius, the infelix lignum of Seneca, the teterrimum, crudelissimumque supplicium of Cicero. The Christians, therefore, did not wish to give the pagans an occasion of insult, nor to give scandal to the weak faith of the catechumens. Prudent respect, as well as wise foresight, induced them to conceal their most holy symbol in the interest of the progress of faith. Consequently, as Rossi proves, we find the cruces dissimulate among the symbols, which, by their similarity with the real figure of the cross, became Christian symbols, but, on account of their being also recognized as heathen symbols, excited no scandal or suspicion. Such concealed symbols, or cruces dissimulate, are, according to Rossi, the Tau or crooked cross, the oblique or S. An
drew's cross, the anchor cross, and the monogram of Christ with all its varieties.
The oldest monogram is the simple X, the first letter of Christ's holy name. At a later period, the X was united with the I, the two together standing for Ιησοῦς Χριστός. Before the time of Constantine, the monogram was represented by the union of the Greek letters X and P, the two first letters of the word XPICTOC. After the conversion of Constantine, when the punishment of the cross was abolished, and all that was offensive or scandalous in it removed, the symbol became more striking by the introduction of a cross-line. In the second half of the IVth century, in spite of the Julian persecution, the symbol of the cross became more plain. But when Christianity, in and since the time of Theodosius the Great, took possession of the laws, and ordinances, and customs of the empire, the symbol became so clear that all could understand it. Therefore, after the end of the IVth century, and in the beginning of the Vth, we find the simple figure of the cross on all public monuments, without any attempt to conceal it.
The progress of this symbol of the cross was not so slow in development in some of the remote provinces as in the city of Rome and its environs. In some of the distant provinces, the power of paganism ceased to control the people at an earlier date than in the city, and, consequently, allowed the Christians to manifest their symbols without fear. This happened as early as the IId century in Northern Africa, where the Christians were powerful at a very early date. Rossi, in the same work, gives us valuable documents and proofs to show the important place which the symbol of the triangle should hold in archæolo
gical disquisitions. It was a recognized symbol of the Holy Trinity.
It is a common custom among certain prejudiced modern writers to speak of the "hatred of the early Christians for art." By degrees, however, the bandage begins to fall from their eyes, and the truth becomes clearer. To Rossi much credit is due for having labored to destroy this prejudice also. The attention of the early Christians was called to works of sculpture rather than to works of painting. And this was quite natural. The statues were mostly naked. And "among the entirely naked Aphrodites of the later Greek and Roman artists, there is hardly one in which the woman does not predominate over the goddess. Sensuality and grossness are conspicuous in most of them."* Some of them also knew that the Venus of Praxiteles, which he represented at first entirely unclothed, was copied after a model of Phryne.
It is different with painting-after music and poetry, the most spiritual of arts. "By the blending of light and shade, and the laws of perspective, it can give a tone of spirituality to the bodily form, and an ethical appearance to the inanimate. Painting is the art of soul impressions. Everything great, noble, and refined can be better expressed on the canvas than in marble." The Christian muse, therefore, naturally took to painting. Hence on the walls in the catacombs we find the first efforts of the Christian painters. Likenesses of the Mother of God are among the first which we meet. These pictures, in which virginal innocence, maternal tenderness, holy worth, tender grace and piety, are manifested, have been collected and published in 1863 in large chromo-litho
Overbeck, History of Greek Plastic Art, ii. 29.
graphs in his work entitled Imagine Scelte della B. Vergine tratte dalle Catacombe Romane.
The earliest likeness of the Mother of God is found in the catacombs of Priscilla. On account of the many likenesses of the Blessed Virgin found in them, these have been called the Marian Catacombs. There is no doubt that these pictures are of apostolic date, and originated with that Priscilla who was known both to Peter and Paul, the mother of the Senator Pudens, and grandmother of the holy virgins Praxedes and Pudentiana. In the arch of the central crypt, the adoration of the magi is painted. The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant Jesus in her bosom; before her in the sky is the star whose light leads the three wise men from the East to visit the divine Child.
In another crypt is delineated the annunciation of the angel. The Blessed Virgin sits on a throne like the ancient episcopal chairs; before her stands the archangel as a beautiful, ethereal youth, without wings, dressed in tunic and pallium, his right hand raised, and the index finger of it pointed at the Virgin. In her face there is a look of surprise and holy, virginal shyness. On the ceiling of another grave-niche, in the very oldest part of the catacomb, close to the graves of the family of Pudens, we find a painted picture of the Virgin. and Child in the pure classic style. Rossi, supported by the most various archæological and historical documents, places this picture in the time between the second half of the Ist and the first half of the IId century. The Blessed Virgin, clothed with many-folded drapery and cloak, bears on her head the veil usually worn by the married or betrothed. Over her hangs the star of Bethlehem; before her stands a young, powerful-looking man, with a prophet's mantle thrown
over his shoulders. In his left hand he holds a scroll, and with the right he points to the star and the Virgin and Child. He is Isaias the Prophet, pointing out the favored Virgin, the branch of the root of Jesse, who was to conceive and bring forth the blessed Fruit; and showing the great light which was to shine over Jerusalem. The beauty of the composition; the grace and dignity of the figures; the swelling folds of the drapery; and the correctness and spiritual beauty of the expression, make this, although the oldest picture of the Madonna, one of the most striking which we possess. The elder Lenormant did not hesitate to compare it with Raphael's best productions.
The picture of the Madonna in the second table of Rossi is of more recent origin. In this picture, the Mother of God sits on a chair of honor, holding the divine Child in her lap. The three kings, led by a star, come to meet her. It is from the cemetery of Domitilla. We omit the
OFFERO (the bearer), afterwards S. Christopher, being proud of his vast strength and gigantic limbs, resolved to serve for he was poor-only the most powerful monarch on earth.
Accordingly, he searched far and near until at last he came to the court of a king who, as he was told, was the greatest monarch on earth. To him Offero offered his services.
other pictures of the adoration of th magi in the other catacombs of Ca listus, Cyriaca, etc.
The assertion of the Calvinist his torian Basnage, that the pictures of the Blessed Virgin were not intro duced into the church until after th Council of Ephesus, A.D. 431, sink to the ground in the face of Rossi documents.
A LEGEND OF S. CHRISTOPHER.
They were gladly accepted, for his powerful frame pleased the eye of the king, who knew that no other rince could boast of such a servant. crooffero, supposing his master to be
He has collected in his works the chief inscriptions to be met with in the catacombs, and has surpassed all his predecessors in the complete ness of his information and docu ments. Although, after the discovery and investigation of the catacombs by the celebrated Bosio, many au thors like Aringhi, Bottari, Boldetti, the Jesuit Lupi, Marchi, and others, had treated on them, and the relations of their contents to theological sciences and ecclesiastical studies, none has equalled the distinguished Rossi, whose ardor, energy, and talent were always aided by the most liberal sympathy of the Roman Pontiff.
afraid of no one, was greatly surprised on perceiving the king tremble and cross himself, whenever the name of Satan was mentioned. "Why dost thou do so ?" he inquired of the monarch.
"Because Satan is very mighty replied his master, " and I am afra lest he should overcome me."
"Then I must leave thee, for I serve only him who is afraid c one," said Offero.
Again he commenced his w ings; this time in search of Sa One day, on crossing a desert, .
perceived a horrible object with the the hermit, taking no heed of the inappearance of great power coming towards him. Offero's great size seemed not in the least to startle him, and with an air of authority he asked: "Whom dost thou seek ?”
"Satan," Offero answered, "for I have heard that he is the most powerful upon earth. I wish to have him for my master."
"I am he," said the other," and thy service shall be an easy one." The giant bowed low, and joined his followers.
As they pursued their way they came in sight of a cross. No sooner had Satan's eyes perceived it, than he turned with evident fear and haste and took another road, so as to avoid passing the cross.
Offero was not slow in noticing these signs of alarm. "Why dost thou do so?" he asked his master.
"I fear the cross," Satan made answer, "because Christ died upon it, and I fly from it lest it should overcome me."
"Then there is one more powerful than thou, and I shall leave thee and seek him," replied Offero. With these words, he left Satan and went in search of Christ.
After much toil and long wanderings, he came to a hermit, whom he entreated to tell him where Christ could be found.
The holy man, seeing him thus ignorant, pitied and taught him. "Christ is indeed the greatest king in heaven and on earth," he said, "for is power will endure throughout rnity; but thou canst not serve 1 lightly he will impose great duupon thee, and he will require thou fast often."
I will not fast," said Offero, "for would weaken my strength, ach makes me so good a servant." "Thou also must pray," continued
"I have never prayed and will never do so. Such service is for weaklings, not for me," replied the giant.
"Then," said the hermit, "dost thou know of a river whose waters are wild and deep, and often swollen by rains, sweeping away in its swift current many of those who would cross it ?"
"Yes," said Offero.
"Then go there and aid those who fight with its waves; carry the weak and little ones across upon thy strong, broad shoulders. is good work, and, if Christ will have thee in his service, he will assure thee of his acceptance."
Offero went to the river, and on its banks built himself a hut. Day and night he aided all who came, carrying many upon his shoulders, and never wearying in assisting them across the river. A palm-tree was his staff, which he had pulled in the forest, and which was well suited to his great strength and height.
One night, when resting in his hut, he heard a voice like that of a weak child, and it said: "Offero, wilt thou carry me?"
He rose quickly and went out, but, search as he would, he could find no one; and he re-entered his dwelling; but presently the voice called again: "Offero, wilt thou carry me?" A second search proved fruitless. At the third call he rose again, taking with him a lantern. He searched, and at last found a child. "Offero, Offero, carry me over this night?"
He lifted him up and began crossing the stream. Immediately the wind commenced to blow, the waves rose high, and the roar of the waters sounded like thunder. The child also began to increase in weight,
grew more heavy upon his shoulders, and Offero feared that he must sink; but, with the aid of his staff, he kept himself up, and at last succeeded in reaching the opposite shore. Then he cried: "Whom have I carried? Had it been the whole world, it could not have been heavier."
Then the child replied: "Me, whom thou desirest to serve, and I have accepted thee. Thou hast not only carried the world, but him who made it, upon thy shoulders. As a sign of my power and my approbation of thee, fix thy staff in the earth, and it shall grow and bear fruit.”
Offero did so, and soon it was covered with leaves and fruit. But the But the wonderful child was gone. Then Offero knew that it was Christ whom he had carried, and he fell down and worshipped him.
Thenceforth he called himself Christopher, served his Master faithfully, holding fast to his new faith through all kinds of tortures and sufferings.
King Dagnus of Lycia, after having thrown him into prison, and not suc ceeding in turning him from his faith. commanded that he should be executed.
CHURCH DEFENCE. New York: The Catholic Publication Society.
"Our Clerical Friends" appear to be suffering pain from the strong sinapisms of Dr. Marshall. At least, we suspect they must be in pain, from certain suppressed, inarticulate cries and moans of the Church Journal, Churchman, etc. Their doctor is inexorable, however, and has already applied another blister. Their internal disorder is too deeply seated and obstinate to allow of any milder treatment. They have been seized with such a violent madness of fancying themselves priests and playing at Catholic that argument is lost on them, unless plentifully infused with ridicule. Church Defence is unmerciful in its ridicule, like the Comedy of Convocation, but it is also perfectly genteel and polished in its style, and as overwhelming in argument as an essay by Dr. Newman. Those who have
Arrived at the place of execution, he knelt down and prayed that all who saw him and believed in Christ, should be delivered from earthquake fire, and tempest. It was believed that his prayers were heard, and that all who look upon the figure of S. Christopher are safe, for that day, from all dangers of earthquake, flood, and fire. The sight of it is believ ed also to impart strength to the weak and weary.
laughed over the sparkling pages of the classic Comedy, will enjoy another laugh over this new drama, and those who have been thrown into a rage by My Clerical Friends will be at a loss for epithets wherewith to give vent to their pent-up bosoms when they read this new amicable discussion, which they will and must do, in spite of themselves. Dear friends and would-be Catholics, you might as well laugh with the whole world that is laughing at you! Your little farce is played out. It is a small business to be trying to cheat poor girls who are entrapped by your counterfeit Sisters, by pretending that you are Catholic priests and can give them sacraments. Something else is wanted besides acolytes and nicolytes, candles and high celebrations, mimicry of our sacerdotal dress, and high collars or high altars. You are outdone even in counterfeiting Catholicity by the little