Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Annunciation: lux est orta

How fitting that the icon of the annunciation should form the Royal Doors of the Iconastasis in a Byzantine Church, these doors are from St Catherine's Monastery, Sinai. The sanctuary, the Holy of Holies of the Church symbolises the womb of the Blessed Virgin, here by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Son is conceived brought forth into the world.

Gabriel, meaning -the icon of God speaks and the Word becomes flesh and dwells amonst us. Both Mary and Gabriel are types of the Church. Through the voice of the Angel and compliance of the Virgin mankind encounters God himself.

The second Icon shows more clearly Mary sitting on a throne, she herself becomes the throne of Heaven, behind already the veil is already being drawn aside. It is the throne of David but it also a gate, the entrance to the Temple and the Church, and the Gate of Heaven.
Mary is clothed in the earth coloured garments of humility in this particular for here the Eternal Word empties himself his Divinity taking on the form of a servant.
She is holding in her hand a skein of scarlet wool "the good spouse is forever spinning" but it is also to remind us also of the red lambs wool Moses used to sprinkle the people with. Temple and sacrifice are here, and yet the throne also has appearance of a ciborium or baldochino over an altar.
As Gabriel speaks, the Holy Spirit descends, the veil above Mary is pushed back, heaven joins itself directly to her. Gabriel stand on a swirling pavement that speaks of heaven, yet Mary is raised above him. The horizantal line behind him direct us towards Mary who is surronded with verticles.
Salve Porta
Ex qua mundo lux est orta


Anonymous said...

I should have visited the Monastery whilst in Egypt..

Peter said...

Thank you Father for this post. It is easier to comment on the post below on politicians and bishops but these teaching posts are really more important.
Seeing and understanding what was done in the past for our benefit teaches and inspires. So thank you Father

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