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Two Marys: Two Traditions


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The hidden Mary in the apse mosaics of the San Venantius chapel in the Lateran baptistery in Rome.

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Two Marys: Two Traditions

  1. 1. Two Marys Two Traditions
  2. 2. The most beautiful image of Mary in the city of Rome is hidden. This mosaic, dated 650, is the oldest surviving image in Rome of Mary in the apse—the sacred space above the altar. This mosaic is in St. Venantius Chapel in the Baptistery of the Lateran Palace, the longtime home of the popes.
  3. 3. No, not this demure mother Mary. The baroque altarpiece hides the 7th -century Mary.
  4. 4. The 7th -century mosaic of Mary is hidden back there.
  5. 5. Today we only can see Jesus
  6. 6. and two angels.
  7. 7. To see the ancient apse mosaic, lift the red velvet rope. Slip behind the tall altarpiece.
  8. 8. Mary is in the center of the ancient mosaic, flanked by apostles and archbishops.
  9. 9. Her arms-raised image was above the eucharistic altar.
  10. 10. She appears to wear an episcopal pallium with a red cross.
  11. 11. In the late 1800s, de Rossi painted the mosaic. His illustration showed a red cross on the white.
  12. 12. Today white tesserae replace most of Mary’s red cross.
  13. 13. Mary was shown arms-raised, much like Pope Clement at the altar in old St. Clement.
  14. 14. Who was this arms-raised Mary depicted as if leading the liturgy above the Eucharistic altar?
  15. 15. How did we lose this powerful role model for girls?
  16. 16. Art as Text By Ally Kateusz In honor of Deirdre Good