Medieval Book Shrines

cumdach-of-st-patricks-gospels

Medieval Fragments has a terrific, well-illustrated post on book shrines: shrines designed to look like books. Called a cumdach, the book shrine was a kind of reliquary contains pages from books associated with saints, and occasionally first class relics: Usually quite small, they served as a portable vessel meant for the preservation of a sacred [Read More...]

The Ghost of St. Edmund Kills a King: The 1000th Anniversary!

St. Edmund kills Sweyn Forkbeard

Edmund, King and Saint, was killed in a conflict with the Danes in 869, and afterward his cult grew, perhaps helped along by a legend (or was it!?) found in Archdeacon Hermann’s Miracles of St. Edmund (1096), and repeated and embellished thereafter. After the death of Edmund, the Danes continued to harass England, with Sweyn [Read More...]

Reliquary of St. John of God

L0035668 Spanish reliquary statue of Saint John of God

Beautiful. Part of the collection released for use from Wellcome Images, which has a huge collection of medical and scientific images. St. John was a health care worker who founded the Brothers Hospitallers. The reliquary contains a piece of his walking stick. [Read more...]

Stephen’s Service: The Apostles of Acts

Stoning_of_St_Stephen

Stephen blazes across Acts like a comet, his brief ministry beginning in two chapters that interrupt the story of Peter and form a bridge to the conversion of Paul. Before he falls under the stones of the mob, he leaves a vivid impression as one of the only people other than Peter or Paul given [Read More...]

The Congressional Stenographer and the Holy Spirit UPDATED

reidy

When I first heard that a congressional stenographer had grabbed a microphone and started ranting about Masonic conspiracies on the floor of the House, I assumed she’d had some sort of mental break. That’s always a safe guess when people deviate from the script in public, and it wasn’t helped by the lack of clear [Read More...]

Stunning Jeweled Saints

Saint Deodatus in Rheinau, Switzerland, by Paul Koudounaris (Thames and Hudson)

Smithsonian has a long, heavily-illustrated piece on photographer Paul Koudounaris and his amazing work cataloging the heavily bejeweled skeletons and corpses of saints. He’s gathered them in a book called Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs (Thames and Hudson), and they are simply astonishing. Here’s a taste: You should read the entire [Read More...]

“We did not make ourselves”

Benozzo Gozzoli: Death of St. Monica

Yesterday we celebrated the feast of St. Augustine. The day before that was the feast of his mother, St. Monnica, who emerges from his writing as a forceful and brilliant example of early Christian piety. Chapter IX of The Confessions ends with a long description of the death of Monnica, reaching an ecstatic vision that [Read More...]

Restless Heart: The Confessions of St. Augustine (Trailer)

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